It was just a matter of time

With seawater running in his veins, it was only a matter of time before Chris Corrigan made an attempt to return to the docks.

According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Chris Corrigan is expected to bid for the third stevedoring spot to be opened up by the Port Botany expansion.

Other likely bidders include Hong Kong’s Hutchison Port Holdings and Anglo Port, jointly with Philippine operator International Container Terminal Services. Hutchison recently entered the Brisbane market, winning the tender to operate a new container terminal.

The existing stevedores at the port, Patrick or DP World, are expected to be prevented from bidding in order to introduce fresh competition into the industry.

Mr Corrigan’s participation in the bidding will be via long-time business associate Sam Kaplan’s publicly listed KFM Diversified Infrastructure and Logistics Fund, which has taken direct stakes in several ports around Australia since its launch earlier this year.

The entry of a third operator is designed to maintain pricing pressures on existing operators, and limit prospects of price fixing and uncompetitive practices .

The NSW Minister for Ports, Joe Tripodi, said the stevedoring tender would be held early next year. As reported on TandLnews last week, the Government gave the nod to the joint venture of Baulderstone Hornibrook and the Belgian company Jan de Nul for the 60-hectare expansion of the port, a decision widely criticised citing Baulderstone’s recent checquered track record.

The expansion includes the creation of five new berths. The capacity of the port, which handles a third of Australia’s container traffic, is to be doubled.

Construction is to begin next year, with the first berth scheduled to be ready by 2012, well after 2010, which is when the port is expected to reach maximum capacity with its present number of berths.

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