Shipping Australia slams container shipping proposal

Shipping Australia (SAL) urges the Opposition in Western Australia to rethink its announced policy of a strategic relocation of significant port operations out of Fremantle.

According to Shipping Australia’s CEO Llew Russel, members believe that the economic prosperity of Western Australia will only be enhanced by Fremantle Ports’ current project to deepen and expand the Inner Harbour, and this work should be progressed as quickly as possible.

He says that while Fremantle Ports may well need to expand port facilities at Kwinana to take additional trade from the Inner Harbour when it reaches capacity in about 2015, the Inner Harbour will continue to be needed, with future trade being handled from both sites operating in tandem.

Russell points out that it would not be economically viable to move virtually all heavy port operations to Kwinana, since it would cost an estimated $5 to $10 billion to replace the deep water port infrastructure built at Fremantle Inner Harbour over the past 110 years.

This would include costs involved in the early termination of leases at Rous Head and the container terminals, involving compensation, relocation and rebuilding.

He also argued that port trade is valued at more than $25 billion per year.

At the end of May 2008, Shadow Planning & Infrastructure Minister, Simon O’Brien, gave conditional support to the planned island development at North Fremantle, although he reserved judgement about the reclamation of the seabed pending the resolution of social, environmental and engineering concerns.

Russell notes that experience in both Australia and overseas has shown that allowing residential development to encroach on working ports can have serious adverse affects on the efficiency and viability of port operations.

“Filling in the ocean to create North Port Quay, a huge residential development right on top of Western Australia’s busiest general cargo port, simply does not make sense,” he says.

“It would be easier to find another location for the residential development than to find a location for another port to replace the Inner Harbour as well as cater for trade expansion.”

Source: Eyefor Transport News

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