‘When competition gets too close, release a report’ seems to be the tactic adopted by the current leaseholders/operators of Port Botany and Port Kembla, following a run of successes by the Port of Newcastle with the ACCC and in the media. The report, by KPMG, on the “long-term container needs of NSW has confirmed Port Botany is the State’s key container port, and a new container terminal will not be needed until the mid-2040s”, they say. The report claims the NSW Government’s container port strategy, which would see Port Kembla developed as the next container port in NSW to augment capacity at Port Botany, still stands as the most efficient and effective way of meeting the State’s container export and import demands. The KPMG report, titled Quay conclusions: Finding the best choices for additional port capacity in NSW finds:
Premature port investments will result in higher costs for NSW businesses and families;
Port Kembla makes the most sense for containers, but only once Botany nears capacity; and,
Containers at the Port of Newcastle makes the least sense for NSW and would impose the highest overall costs and offer the lowest overall benefit.
NSW Ports CEO, Marika Calfas, said Port Botany will remain the first choice in container freight. “Port Botany is closer, better and cheaper for most container freight in NSW. “Port Botany is less than half full, is directly connected to dedicated freight rail, road and intermodal infrastructure and is supported by modern warehousing and logistics facilities in Sydney’s west and south west. “The KPMG modelling shows Port Kembla is the obvious next choice for the state’s next container port, once Port Botany nears capacity. “It is less than half the distance to Sydney’s booming west and south west and has better existing and planned freight infrastructure connections than a container terminal at Newcastle. “It’s the population and business needs of NSW that determine the most efficient container terminal locations. “NSW container ports are most efficient when close to consumers and connected to the market by good rail, road and intermodal infrastructure. “Sydney and the south west population is set to grow from 5 million now to 6.5 million by 2036. Port Botany then Port Kembla makes sense as the ports to service this growth and is the right decision for the people and businesses of NSW,” Ms Calfas said. The report found that 80 per cent of containers are consumed within 40 km of Port Botany, with massive Commonwealth, state and port investments made over the past 10 years to develop a major freight and logistics sector in Sydney’s west and south west growth areas. According to KPMG’s research, the current proposal for a container port in Newcastle had significant issues including being furthest away from the freight consumption and employment growth in western Sydney and the most expensive to develop, connect and use for containers. Even with massive taxpayer investments in rail and road projects, a container port at Newcastle would introduce thousands of heavy vehicles onto Newcastle’s streets, the F3 motorway and across Sydney, the report found. Or does it? The report is also notable for what it doesn’t reveal, although it is hardly surprising considering NSW Ports paid over $5 billion to the NSW Government for the pleasure of operating the two ports. A joint study by the state and federal governments into a rail freight bypass of Sydney was reported in February 2012 (page 37). A container terminal at the Port of Newcastle would provide the container cargo to pay for the new line. Long-time Port of Newcastle proponent Greg Cameron said: “The [KPMG] report says it was commissioned in August 2018. The purpose of the report is to justify government policy that sees Port Botany as the state’s only port for container ships. “Port of Newcastle Investments has been making the point that a container terminal will be built if the infamous fee is removed. There is plenty of demand from northern NSW to support a Newcastle container terminal.” Mr Cameron further said: “ ‘Determining an estimate of public expenditure required to overcome rail constraints between Sydney and Newcastle is difficult, given that transport agencies have not released their estimates,’ KPMG says. Presumably, the studies are confidential because they relate to the commercial viability of building a rail freight bypass of Sydney. “A container terminal at the Port of Newcastle would provide the base load cargo for privately building and operating a rail freight line to serve all of NSW, not just Sydney. “Port Botany is the state’s only port with the dedicated facilities required by container ships. Every container ship that visits NSW must use Port Botany. At present, container transportation requires one million truck trips a year at Port Botany. By 2040, the estimated number of container truck trips will be 5 million a year. “The reason why 85 per cent of containers are delivered within 50 km of Port Botany is because trucking is the highest cost method of transporting containers. The lowest cost method of container transportation is by rail. “A rail freight bypass line would enable a container terminal established at the Port of Newcastle to operate interchangeably with a container terminal established at Port Kembla. Every container would be railed. “Intermodal terminals would be established along the rail freight bypass line to maximise logistics efficiency. “Intermodal terminals established in regional areas would enable very long term planning of the state’s future economic development based on rail transportation of containerised goods,” Mr Cameron said.
The NSW Nationals leader’s public support for a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald on October 23, is welcome news. Under current arrangements, two container ships a week visiting the Port of Newcastle until 2063 would cost the NSW Government more than $6 billion. The government is contractually committed until 2063 to paying the lessee of Port Botany and Port Kembla, NSW Ports, for containers shipped through the Port of Newcastle. Payment starts when more than three container ships a year visit Newcastle, assuming an average of 10,000 import/export containers a visit. Payment is based on the average price charged by NSW Ports for a container shipped through Port Botany, currently $150. The government secretly decided to require the developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle to pay the government for any cost the government incurred to a future Port Botany/Port Kembla lessee, due to container shipments handled by the developer. The government concealed its decision when parliament debated the bill authorising the ports to be leased. The “Ports Assets (Authorised Transactions) Act 2012”, which was assented to on 26 November 2012, did not authorise the government to pay the Port Botany/Port Kembla lessee from consolidated revenue. Should the ACCC find that the decision to charge a Port of Newcastle container terminal developer is likely to be illegal under the “Commonwealth Competition and Consumer Act 2010” (Competition Act), the government will need to pass special legislation to pay NSW Ports. More likely, the government will assert that the leasing arrangements are legal and will defend its position, in the event that the ACCC sought a court determination. The legal process could take years. The previous Labor Government started negotiating with the preferred developer of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle, Newcastle Stevedores Consortium (Consortium), in 2010. Labor contractually required a container terminal with capacity of at least one million containers a year – the equivalent of two ships a week. Port Botany and Port Kembla were leased to NSW Ports on May 30 2013. The government contractually required the consortium to pay the government for any cost the government incurred to NSW Ports, for container shipments handled by the consortium. The ACCC claims that the government decided from at least July 27 2012 not to develop a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle. The ACCC based its claim on the government’s policy announcement that Port Kembla would be the location of the state’s next container terminal. The ACCC claims that the Competition Act stopped applying to the government in respect of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle, due to the policy announced on July 27 2012. The government announced on 28 October 2013 that no decision had been made to lease the Port of Newcastle. The government said “the scoping study for the proposed port transaction remains on track, with the NSW Government expecting to make a decision by the end of the year”. But on 5 November 2013, the government announced its decision to lease the port. Around that time, the government ceased negotiating with the consortium, without concluding a development agreement. The ACCC took no enforcement action under the Competition Act because the negotiation “did not result in any contract, arrangement or understanding”. The ACCC informed the Commonwealth Treasurer that “there does not appear to have been a contract, arrangement or understanding in place during the relevant period which had the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition”. The ACCC refuses to acknowledge that the government contractually required the consortium to pay the government, for any cost the government incurred to NSW Ports, due to container shipments handled by the consortium. However, it was impossible for the government to conclude a contract that breached the Competition Act. If the government’s contract with the consortium breached the Competition Act, the same contract with the Port of Newcastle lessee breaches the Competition Act.
Building an extensive container port at Newcastle would have many roll-on benefits for Sydney, writes Greg Cameron. A container terminal at Newcastle would justify building a rail freight bypass of Sydney between Newcastle, Badgery’s Creek and Port Kembla. This bypass would be paid for by replacing Port Botany’s container trucks with Newcastle’s container trains. It would enable trains to replace trucks for transporting the bulk of Sydney’s regional and interstate freight. Port Botany relies on trucks for transporting containers. There were one million container trucks that moved through Port Botany in 2014. By 2040, there will be six million. An intermodal terminal is being built at Moorebank. This terminal requires all of Sydney’s available rail freight capacity. If Moorebank reaches capacity, there will still be 4.9 million container truck movements through Port Botany by 2040. With the Moorebank intermodal terminal operating at capacity, the economic disbenefits of trucking containers will increase five-fold – from one million per year to five million per year – by 2040. A rail freight bypass of Sydney will justify building the Maldon-Dombarton rail freight line to enable building a container terminal at Port Kembla to operate interchangeably with the Port of Newcastle. The South Coast of NSW will be served by container ports at both Port Kembla and Port of Newcastle. By building the section of the bypass line between Glenfield and Eastern Creek as the top priority, containers can be railed between Port Botany and a new intermodal terminal in outer western Sydney. The remainder of the line to Newcastle will take about 10 years to build. But there would be no intermodal terminal built at Moorebank. Upon line completion, containers railed between Newcastle and intermodal terminals in outer western Sydney would be de-consolidated at the intermodal terminals and the goods transported to their end destinations in Sydney. Export goods manufactured in Sydney would be consolidated into containers at the intermodal terminals and the containers then railed to Newcastle for export. Empty containers would be railed from Sydney to all regional areas of NSW to be filled with export goods and the containers then railed to Newcastle for export. All container trucks would be removed from Sydney’s roads. Freight currently entering Greater Sydney by road can be railed. There would be no need to build stages 2 and 3 of the $5 billion Northern Sydney Freight Corridor to provide the equivalent of a dedicated rail freight line between Newcastle and Strathfield. There would be no need to build the $1 billion Western Sydney Freight Line, between Chullora and Eastern Creek, to enable containers to be railed between Port Botany and outer western Sydney. There would be no need to spend $400 million on upgrading the Port Botany rail freight line. Freight would be removed from the Wollongong-Sydney rail line. All of Sydney’s current rail freight capacity would be used for passenger services to provide a higher economic return than freight. The Southern Sydney Freight Line could be used for express passenger services from southwestern Sydney growth areas, including Badgery’s Creek Airport. All of the current rail capacity between Newcastle and Sydney would be used for passengers. A second rail bridge would be built over the Hawkesbury River as part of the rail freight bypass. The short parallel runway at Sydney airport could be extended from 2,600 metres to 4,000 metres by terminating container operations at Port Botany. A rail freight bypass would enable Sydney firms to relocate to regional areas. It is appropriate and necessary for the state to examine the implications to NSW of removing the state’s anti-competitive fee for containers shipped through the Port of Newcastle.
The ACCC is currently investigating “concerns that contractual restrictions may prevent the expansion of container throughput at certain ports”. It is speculation that these unspecified “concerns” include the anti-competitive Port of Newcastle container fee. It is fundamental that any ACCC investigation recognises the fee, its purpose and the date it became NSW government policy. The Hon Adam Searle’s question without notice to The Hon Duncan Gay on October 17 2013 [see below] uncovered the fact that the government decided in 2011 or early 2012 to cap the number of containers that could be shipped through the Port of Newcastle without incurring a fee. The fee charged per container is equal to the average fee charged for a container shipped through Port Botany (currently $150). As Mr Gay revealed in his answer, the fee was an instruction the government gave its financial adviser, Morgan Stanley, for conducting a scoping study into leasing Port Botany and Port Kembla. The government appointed Morgan Stanley on December 14 2011. Earlier, in 2009, the previous, Labor, NSW government decided to develop a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle by leasing the former Newcastle steelworks ‘Mayfield Site’ to the private sector. With the government acting as Newcastle Port Corporation (Corporation), a negotiation commenced, under contract, with Newcastle Stevedores Consortium (Consortium) in 2010. The Corporation changed its contractual requirements in 2013 to include the fee. This negotiation concluded on commercial terms in November 2013, without the site being leased. The ACCC claims that the Corporation ceased carrying on a business for the purposes of the “Commonwealth Competition and Consumer Act 2010” in 2012 because the government decided not to develop a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle. As shown by Mr Gay’s answer, the government made no such decision. The ACCC is wrong to claim that the government decided in 2012 not to develop a container terminal, as proven by the Corporation’s ongoing negotiation with the Consortium and the “Port Commitment – Port Botany and Port Kembla”, which was publicly disclosed by The Newcastle Herald on 28 July 2016. Not even the government supports the ACCC’s claim. It defies reality that the Corporation complied with the Competition Act by requiring the Consortium to pay the fee. The ACCC is obliged to acknowledge that the fee was an instruction the government gave Morgan Stanley for conducting a scoping study into leasing Port Botany and Port Kembla. It is incontrovertibly in the public interest for the government’s liability to be determined because of the many billions of dollars of public money at risk if a container terminal is built at the Port of Newcastle and the fee proves to be unlawful or unenforceable. For example, a container terminal operating at a modest 1 million TEU a year between 2023 and 2063, will require the NSW government to pay NSW Ports $6 billion at the rate of $150 million a year. Port Botany and Port Kembla were leased for $5.1 billion in 2013 for 99 years. LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL 17 OCTOBER 2013 The Hon. ADAM SEARLE: My question is directed to the Minister for Roads and Ports. How much compensation will be paid to the private operator of Port Botany if a new container terminal is developed at Newcastle Port? The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: The rules in the organisation that did the scoping study for Port Botany and Port Kembla and introduced guidelines there indicate that while general cargo is allowed there will not be an extension under the rules for the lease of Newcastle Port. So the short answer to the question is that we do not envisage that any compensation will need to be put in place. The Government has been clear on this all the way through the process, even before it indicated it would lease the port at the stage when Newcastle Port Corporation was in place. I have indicated in the House, as I have in Newcastle—indeed, I made a special visit to Newcastle to talk to the board, the chief executive officer and the local community—that part of the lease and the rationalisation was a cap on numbers there. I am not saying that there will be no containers into Newcastle. Certainly, a number of containers will come in under general cargo, but there will not be an extension. The only time an extension is allowed is when a specific number is reached and is tripped in Port Botany and Port Kembla.
Any legal action by the ACCC to reverse the anti-competitive Port of Newcastle container fee could take years, now that it has started looking into it. That would further damage the NSW economy. But a solution exists. Replace all Port Botany container trucks with Newcastle container trains. With imagination and cooperation, the lessees of Botany and Newcastle can combine their resources to transfer Botany operations to Newcastle and build a rail freight bypass of Sydney – from Newcastle to Port Kembla, via Eastern Creek. Trains become the means of transporting containers between port and intermodal terminals throughout the entire state, possibly including Victoria and southern Queensland. Trains would replace trucks for general freight entering Sydney from regional areas and interstate. One million container trucks a year use Port Botany. By 2040, there will be an estimated six million container trucks. If the Moorebank intermodal terminal proceeds, Port Botany container trucks will still number 4.9 million a year by 2040. Moorebank intermodal will require all of Sydney’s available rail freight capacity. This capacity, obviously, is insufficient. It is unlikely that a container terminal will be built at Port Kembla because of the reliance on container trucks at Port Botany. Port Kembla needs to have a rail connection to the main southern line, which is accomplished by building the much awaited Maldon-Dombarton link. A rail freight bypass of Sydney from Newcastle will justify building this line. The South Coast will be connected to container ports at both Port Kembla and Port of Newcastle. The ports would operate interchangeably. Construction would start immediately on building the section of the bypass line between Glenfield, Badgery’s Creek and Eastern Creek. This will enable existing rail freight capacity to service new intermodal terminals, but not Moorebank. The best use of Sydney’s existing rail freight capacity is increased passenger services. The Moorebank intermodal would be discontinued. It will take around ten years to complete construction of the entire line linking Newcastle and Port Kembla. Upon line completion, containers railed between Newcastle and intermodal terminals in outer western Sydney would be de-consolidated at the intermodal terminals and the goods transported to their end destinations in Sydney. Export goods manufactured in Sydney would be consolidated into containers at the intermodal terminals and the containers then railed to Newcastle for export. Empty containers would be railed from Sydney to all regional areas of NSW to be filled with export goods and the containers then railed to Newcastle for export. Currently, empty containers are NSW’s main non-bulk export. The proposed rail freight bypass will generate investment in manufacturing for export by providing cost-effective access to a container port for the first time. Investment is not occurring at present because of the impediments to getting goods to market. With the bypass, there would be no need to build stages 2 and 3 of the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor to provide the equivalent of a dedicated rail freight line between Newcastle and Strathfield. The cost saving is $5 billion. There would be no need to build the Western Sydney Freight Line, between Chullora and Eastern Creek, to enable containers to be railed between Port Botany and outer western Sydney. The cost saving is $1 billion. Freight would be removed from the Wollongong-Sydney rail line. All of Sydney’s current rail freight capacity would be used for passenger services to provide a higher economic return than freight. The Southern Sydney Freight Line would be used for express passenger services from southwestern Sydney growth areas, including Badgery’s Creek Airport. All of the current rail capacity between Newcastle and Sydney would be used for passengers. A second rail bridge would be built over the Hawkesbury River as part of the rail freight bypass. The short parallel runway at Sydney airport could be extended from 2600 metres to 4000 metres by terminating container operations at Port Botany. A rail freight bypass would enable Sydney firms to relocate to regional areas. In western Sydney, 5,000 hectares of land is used for industrial purposes. Many of these firms could profitably relocate to regional areas if they were able to use rail to freight goods to Sydney and ship containers through the Port of Newcastle. It is appropriate and necessary to examine the implications to NSW of building a rail freight bypass of Sydney. Greg Cameron is a former executive of BHP Steel and is an active proponent of the Newcastle container port.
There could be 2 million containers passing through the port of Newcastle each year.
Following years of sitting in the ACCC’s too-hard basket, industry sources say there has now been enough confirmation of wrong-doing by successive NSW Governments for the ACCC to take action. The Newcastle Herald quotes an ACCC spokesperson saying: “We have considered these issues over time, however, there are some recent developments that have renewed our interest.” The news of course comes as great relief and justification for their decades of perseverance for the small group of battle-weary former BHP Steelworks executives and the current management of the Port of Newcastle, who have been told many times to give up any hope of ever seeing the port as anything more than a coaldust gatherer. Former BHP executive and the driving force behind the container port movement Greg Cameron explains the details: There is movement on Newcastle at last The ACCC’s decision to at last investigate arrangements that “may limit or prevent the development of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle”, is welcome news. The ACCC chooses its words carefully. It says of “relevance” to its concerns is section 45 of the “Commonwealth Competition and Consumer Act 2010” (Competition Act), that “prohibits contracts, arrangements or understandings which have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition”. A container terminal is a near certainty, if the NSW government removes the fee it charges. This fee is paid to the lessee of Port Botany and Port Kembla (NSW Ports) as compensation for loss of container shipping business to Newcastle. A world-class container terminal built on the former Newcastle steelworks site would be able to move two million TEU containers a year. At this volume, the NSW government will be required to pay NSW Ports $8 billion between 2023 and 2063. NSW Ports paid $5.1 billion for a 99-year lease in 2013. The government was authorised by the “Ports Assets (Authorised Transactions) Act 2012” to lease Port Botany, Port Kembla and Port of Newcastle. But this Act did not authorise the government to pay the lessee of Botany/Kembla for containers shipped through Newcastle. Paying NSW Ports anything defeats the purpose of leasing Botany/Kembla, which was to release capital value. However, by artificially inflating the lease value of Botany/Kembla – by promising payment of compensation – the government got a false valuation. Competition from Newcastle would have made the lease value of Botany/Kembla less than the retention value, whereby these ports would not have been leased in the first place. The government concealed its decision to pay the lessee when the “Ports Assets (Authorised Transactions) Bill 2012” was being considered by Parliament. The government also concealed its source of funds to pay the lessee. The government decided in 2012 that a private company, Newcastle Stevedores Consortium (Consortium), would be the source of those funds. A negotiation by the government to lease Newcastle’s container terminal site to the Consortium, for development of a container terminal, commenced in 2010. A key lease condition was that the Consortium should build and operate a container terminal with minimum capacity for one million TEU containers a year. Since a lease contract with a condition requiring the Consortium to pay a fee for containers was likely to breach the Competition Act, the government terminated the negotiation, in November 2013. In November 2013, the government decided to lease the Port of Newcastle to give it a source of funds to pay NSW Ports outside the operation of the Competition Act. Government policy, as confirmed by the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP on 29 September 2015, is that the port lessee (Port of Newcastle Investments) “could develop a container terminal if it wished to do so”. A Newcastle container terminal will generate base load cargo to pay for a rail freight bypass of Sydney – from Newcastle to Port Kembla via outer western Sydney. A sensible solution is for an orderly transfer of container terminal operations from Port Botany to Newcastle and Port Kembla. NSW Ports, which is 80 per cent owned by industry super funds, can have its investment protected if it participates in the rail freight bypass. There is enough money to be made in railing containers from Newcastle, rather than trucking containers from Port Botany, to protect the interests of all investors, by taking a common-sense approach in the interests of fund members and the NSW community. Greg Cameron Why stop there? If of course container movement was discontinued at Port Botany, to the great relief of local residents and road users, the land and airspace at Port Botany could be used for an additional runway at Sydney Airport. This would negate the need for a new airport at Badgery’s Creek – especially if a fast train were to commence operations between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, which routes account for over 30% of Sydney Airport’s traffic. The freight rail line duplication could also be avoided, saving several more billions. There would be an immediate ease of the traffic chaos along the M5 and M7, which currently see trucks carrying the hundreds of thousands of containers between Port Botany and the new industrial mega-developments around Eastern Creek each year. It could actually be faster to rail a container from Newcastle to Eastern Creek and surrounds than to move it from Port Botany. Mr Cameron said Port Botany container truck movements are currently more than 1 million a year. “Deloitte Access Economics estimates they will increase to 4.9 million a year by 2040. However, if the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal does not proceed, Port Botany container truck movements will be 6 million a year. “WestConnex is essential if container truck movements are to increase five fold because the current capacity of the M5 East is exceeded, even without container trucks. A rail freight bypass would make the Moorebank intermodal redundant because all containers would be railed using the bypass line. Sydney’s existing rail freight capacity is more profitably used for more passenger services.” Let’s see what happens with the Port of Newcastle first. Charles Pauka – Editor
The Port of Newcastle – the largest port on Australia’s east coast – will exhibit at multimodal supply chain trade show MEGATRANS2018. MEGATRANS2018 aims to bring together leaders and stakeholders in the wider Australian and international supply chain, including those in the transport, logistics, warehousing solutions, materials handling and infrastructure sectors. The Port is a leading coal export port and handles more than 25 different cargoes and 2,258 ship visits per annum. With connectivity to national road and rail networks, the Port of Newcastle has a significant role to play in the wider Australian logistics and supply chain, making it a welcome fit for MEGATRANS2018. The show takes place 10-12 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
China Merchants Port (CMPort) has entered into an agreement to purchase a 50 per cent interest in the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, from China Merchants Union and Gold Newcastle Property . The remaining 50 per cent interest in Port of Newcastle is held by TIF Investment Trust, an independent third party. The deal went through for over $600 million. The acquisition of Port of Newcastle is CMPort’s first step in its bid to invest in Oceania. “Given the unique position of the Port of Newcastle with precincts containing land resources, the acquisition will bring opportunities for the Company to further achieve its ‘Port and Park’ development under ‘Port-Park-City’ model,” the company said in a statement. Through this, the company seeks to operate its core port businesses alongside park development and infrastructure support, “thereby achieving a port-centred ecosystem with port operations as its core.” In its statement, CMPort noted that it believes the price of the acquisition was fair and reasonable. The Port of Newcastle is the largest port on Australia’s east coast, and a significant coal-export port. In 2016, it handled bulk cargo volume of 167 million tonnes, of which coal export made up 161 million tonnes, approximately 40 per cent of Australia’s coal export The Port of Newcastle has a total land area of 792 hectares, including approximately 200 hectares of vacant port land available for further development. In September 2016, the New South Wales Government committed $12.7 million towards a permanent multi-purpose cruise terminal facility at the Port of Newcastle, which will begin construction in 2018.
Over the last three years Mainfreight has completed over a dozen significant building projects in Australia’s capital cities, both in its domestic and international businesses. Further development is now taking place in other major cities such as Bendigo, Toowoomba, Albury, and Newcastle. The company is looking to move into more key regional areas and Bendigo and Toowoomba were earmarked as locations to continue its strategy of wanting to control the delivery quality and to intensify its network. Mainfreight originally moved into its depot in Albury, NSW, in 2012, and the last five years have seen enough growth for the company to now increase the site by over 50%. Completed in August, 2017, the extension includes 1,000m2 of hardstand and provide access for B-Doubles and other large vehicles. New site at Newcastle, NSW Projected to be completed in 2018, construction is underway on a new purpose-built facility that will ensure the efficient and effective handling of freight. Built on 1.7 hectares of land, the 5,800m2 facility with 4,200m² of raised dock will allow loaders to have better line of sight when loading products. Four rear loading docks will increase the number of trailers that can be handled, with another 7,200m2 hardstand. The site is located at the end of the M1 Sydney Motorway, with access to the recently opened Hunter Expressway and Pacific Highway.
Despite the government initially denying there was a cap on container ships for the Port of Newcastle, it has tried to put a positive spin on the agreement by claiming it was a smart and generous decision. Premier Mike Baird, who visited Newcastle this week, said the agreement was a sound one that married with the state government’s overall strategy when dealing with ports, according to the Newcastle Herald. “There’s a massive requirement for infrastructure to support,” he said. “There’s rail and roads, which is a huge burden on taxpayers across the state. So it makes a lot of sense to be strategic in the allocation of capital.” Baird believes investing in Port Kembla and Port Botany is more important than Newcastle because of the ‘logistic chain’ with regard to the former two ports. “We have put a very generous capacity into the agreements they can continue here at the Newcastle and they can grow at 6 per cent a year,” he says. “The economy grows at about 3 per cent if it’s at trend [so] there’s double economic growth that can come in here in terms of containers. Baird was also bullish stating that the Port of Newcastle’s time would come with regard to its capacity. “In the not too distant future you’ll have a huge capacity for a container terminal here in addition to an economically sensible approach to investing in the infrastructure required to support containers full stop,” he says