WA looks to Perth to cope with container trade growth

Western Australia shifts focus to establishing a new container port closer to Perth to cope with a rise in trade

June 27, 2011

Western Australia has put plans to expand Fremantle Port on the backburner, instead shifting its focus to establishing a new container port closer to Perth.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell says the port’s inner harbour will be retained as an operating container and general cargo ‘working port’ for the long-term future, despite the James Point consortium’s plans to extend the port’s container capacity.

He says the inner harbour is expected to reach its capacity to manage container trade in 10 years, with a long-term plan required to secure future trade gateways.

"Extensive research has shown that Cockburn Sound is the only suitable location for new container-handling port facilities and, given the number of strategic port, industry and utility interests in the area, it is vital that all relevant issues are assessed through the appropriate statutory processes," Buswell says.

"Most demand for imported goods comes from the metropolitan area and locating the new container port close to Perth is the only viable option."

Buswell says Fremantle Inner Harbour handles almost all of the state’s container trade, which has grown by an average of 7.5 percent per annum in the past 15 years.

He says the government is planning to enable a significant increase in rail’s share of containers to and from the port.

"The goal is to stabilise the number of trucks travelling to and from the inner harbour and to increase the capacity of the rail system by linking the inner harbour to inland freight hubs and distributing freight movements across the entire transport system," Buswell says.

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