Saffioti busy with WA freight developments

Fremantle rail subsidy and regional infrastructure investment highlighted

Saffioti busy with WA freight developments
Rita Saffioti in Exmouth


Western Australian transport, planning, lands minister Rita Saffioti has spent the Christmas and early new year period highlighting freight transport and infrastructure developments.

Before Christmas, Saffioti  confirmed the container rail subsidy will rise from $30 to $50 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU).

The plan aims to encourage more freight on rail and reduce truck traffic on roads around Fremantle Port, as part of the state government's integrated plan for freight and trade.

A target to boost rail mode share to 20 per cent has been set - an increase of about five per cent.

The subsidy will be paid for all loaded containers that move between North Quay Rail Terminal (NQRT), Forrestfield and Kwinana, as well as for containers filled with hay that are received by rail at NQRT for export.

The subsidy per container will continue to be passed on in full to rail customers.

Saffioti says increasing the rail share for container haulage is one of several initiatives to improve efficiencies at the Inner Harbour to facilitate trade growth until additional port facilities are viable.

Others include:

  • facilitating the development of the Westport Port and Environs Strategy that involves long-term planning for the Inner and Outer Harbours
  • enabling development of the broader rail supply chain, including intermodal facilities to enhance rail system efficiencies and minimise truck movements on Perth roads
  • upgrading road infrastructure linkages to ease congestion to and around the Inner Harbour.  

"The rail service plays a significant role in achieving greater efficiency in the container supply chain as well as improving community amenity and environmental benefits along metropolitan roads that link to Fremantle Port," she says.

"That is why the McGowan government has delivered on its election commitment to increase the container rail subsidy to encourage more container movements on the port rail service.

 "It's pleasing to see the integrated plan for freight and trade in WA coming together, which will help drive economic growth and jobs for years to come."

Local member Lisa O'Malley insists the move means fewer   truck movements on local roads.

Yesterday, Saffioti officially opened the second stage of the Exmouth Boat Harbour upgrade, much of the work for which, she acknowledged, had bee, done by the previous government.

Stage 2 of the Exmouth Boat Harbour upgrade received more than $18 million in state government funding and has "transformed the harbour into a modern maritime hub".

The most recent upgrade works included an 88 metre extension to the wharf, with a 40 metre heavy lift zone, heavy vehicle parking area, new cyclone moorings, four new trawler pens and raising of the southern breakwater by two metres.

Construction of a new fuel farm, firefighting infrastructure, upgraded road access and a CCTV system also means the facility can better cater to marine and offshore industries.

Meanwhile, Saffioti today launched a master planning process to map out Geraldton Port's role and infrastructure needs for the next 30 years 

Key objectives of the project will be to articulate the future layout of the Geraldton Port, understand infrastructure requirements, consider port-community interface issues and identify operational requirements to meet the future needs of port stakeholders.

The project aims to assist:

  • regional and local planning bodies and transport network providers in preparing and revising development strategies
  • defence and border protection agencies to identify opportunities that exist at Geraldton
  • port users, employees and local communities to understand future port development.  

The master planning process will include consultation with the community and stakeholder groups regarding the future of the port.

"Integral to this process will be mapping out land use options while factoring in industrial estates and the ongoing need to protect our port access corridors," Mid West Ports chairman John Elkington says.

The master plan is expected to be completed during the first half of 2019. The Port of Geraldton's Pre-Project Master Planning Survey can be accessed from Mid West Ports' website.


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