Third operator at Port of Melbourne likely


Port of Melbourne's duopoly is set to be broken if the Victorian Government supports push for third terminal

By Michael House | October 29, 2009

The Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) looks set to follow the leads of Brisbane and Sydney and add a third port operator to its facility.

A business case is currently being put together to present to Victorian Government in a move which would break the existing duopoly between Patrick and P&O.

According to PoMC Chief Executive Stephen Bradford, there is a number of companies wanting to join the current operators at the port and enough trade volumes to ensure all operators will have constant work.

"The Victorian Government concluded in its recently released Port Futures policy that there were potential benefits to be gained by considering the introduction of greater competition into the provision of container stevedoring services in the Port of Melbourne," Bradford says.

"Certainty of container terminal capacity and greater competition are vital to ensure that we manage our growing freight task efficiently, both in Victoria and across Australia."

Bradford’s comments come despite earlier concerns expressed by Patrick and P&O that the addition of a new operator would "dry up" investment in the sector.

But Bradford says there is enough volume at the port to sustain three terminals, adding that trucking operators will benefit from competition.

"In its Port Futures policy, the Victorian Government concluded the benefits of competition would generally translate into lower prices to port users and other possible benefits of competition could include improved service levels to shipping lines and land transport operators servicing the port," he says.

"Certainty of container terminal capacity and greater competition are vital to ensure that we manage our growing freight task efficiently, both in Victoria and across Australia."

Industry support
The Victorian Freight and Logistics Council (VFLC) is supporting a third stevedore as long as its members benefit.

"We would hope any new terminals that are built would maximise the ability to increase turnover for transport operators," John Begley, the Chairman of the VFLC, says.

And Bradford says should any such plans go ahead, the PoMC will ensure groups such at the VFLC are involved in discussions involving the construction of the facility.

"Subject to all necessary government approvals PoMC will be working closely with all stakeholders to ensure the success of this project," he says.


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