Record Botany trade, but rail links need work: Rowsthorn

By: Jason Whittaker


A record of more than 1 million TEUs moved through the Patrick Port Botany container terminal in the 2007/08 financial

A record of more than 1 million TEUs moved through the Patrick Port Botany container terminal in the 2007/08 financial year, the stevedore reports.

The result continues the 7 percent annual growth in container volumes through the Patrick terminal.

Mark Rowsthorn, CEO of Patrick’s parent Asciano, says the growth has been driven by a combination of strategic investment in equipment, improved operational efficiency and providing capacity ahead of demand.

Patrick has invested over $120 million to upgrade its Port Botany terminal over the past three years, including the introduction of five rail-mounted gantries (RMGs).

"The new RMG’s, once fully commissioned, will provide increased rail transport capacity and will greatly improve the overall road and rail interface within the terminal precinct," Rowsthorn says.

Patrick has also taken delivery of six new straddles which will be introduced in the next few weeks. The straddles provide further operational flexibility, according to Rowsthorn, and better customer service.

But Rowsthorn wants a greater focus from government on the rail links to and from the port.

"The significant investment Patrick has made in its RMGs must be complemented by an efficient rail system," he says.

"This is the only way the New South Wales Government will achieve a 40 percent rail mode share for port container traffic.

In its submission to the Port Botany Commission of Inquiry, Patrick argued its terminal is capable of handling about 2 million containers per year.

"In order to address congestion issues in Sydney we need more capacity on our road and rail corridors to and from the port," Rowsthorn says.

"Improvements in landside infrastructure are critical and should be the NSW Government’s highest priority at this time."

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