The Esperance port is on course to handle a record number of shipping containers this year after the Pontresina ship handled 2274 nickel containers over the past five days.
That compares to a total of 3678 containers during all of 2008.
The ship, making its third visit to Esperance, unloaded a record 1146 empty containers and loaded 1128 full ones.
Esperance Ports Sea and Land chief executive Shayne Flanagan said the port had already handled 17,001 containers so far in 2012-13, putting it on track to beat its previous record of 27,154 set last financial year.
Mr Flanagan said with the demand for nickel increasing, the business was expected to expand further.
“This trade complements the significant increase in iron ore exports through the port during the first six months and we are on track to achieve record trade figures this year,” he said.
The Pontresina is a dedicated container vessel with built-in container guide cells and twist locks that are easier to access and safer to use.