Details on case for Kwinana delay emerge

By: Rob McKay

WA trucking to work with community; present port capacity seen as ample for decades

Details on case for Kwinana delay emerge
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt, Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny, MUA WA branch secretary Tim Dawson, Fremantle Ports' harbour master Captain Allan Gray, Fish Army convener Tim Barlow and Westport project director Tim Collins


Details of the points made at a meeting aimed at delaying the planned new Kwinana port have been released, with the Maritime Union of Australia’s WA branch insisting many decades would pass before it is needed.

With a maximum capacity of around 2.4 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units of containers) annually, and current trade volumes only reaching 770,000 in 2017, there was said to be broad consensus among the panellists that Fremantle’s Inner Harbour is best positioned to handle the  state’s growing trade needs far into the future.

MUA deputy secretary Adrian Evans pointed out to the audience the port in Sydney currently handles 2.4 million TEUs and according to the WA Planning Commission Perth would not reach the same population as Sydney now until 2055-2065.

The crowd heard from harbourmaster Allan Gray who said Fremantle Port is deeper than the port in Melbourne and can handle the largest ships that call on any of the ports in Australia and that there is no capacity constraint on the inner harbour for decades to come.

Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny spoke about productivity and efficiency gains achieved by industry.

Compared with 2014, Dumesny notes, there are 580 fewer trucks visiting the port each day while port trade volumes have increased by 10 per cent over that same period.

"We spoke that road access constraints to the port can be resolved by developing a policy that encourages both rail and road productivity," Dumesny tells ATN. 

"Furthermore, the road transport industry is prepared to work with the community on addressing issues of concern, using the model that has been successful in Victoria."

Modelling done by Curtin University academic Professor Peter Newman in 2014 showed the Perth Freight Link would have only removed 500 trucks from local roads every day, it was said.

Read how the Fremantle/Kwinana meeting story broke, here

Terminal operators told the crowd there is no business case to build a new Outer Harbour in Kwinana and it makes the most economical sense to continue operations in Fremantle.

DP World Australia has a new $15 million crane arriving in two weeks and has $2.5 million invested in new container handling equipment.

The lack of certainty in recent years has hindered even more investment in the Inner Harbour, the stevedores say. And both Patrick and DP World are calling from retention as proposed series of rolling seven year leases, combined with proposed 300 per cent rent rise, undermines investment confidence

Fremantle mayor Dr Brad Pettitt told the audience the council recently passed a resolution affirming their support to retain a working port in Fremantle and Fremantle’s future is as a port city.

With plenty of capacity to handle growing trade volumes, the ability to handle the largest ships visiting any port in Australia, logistical improvements already achieving what the Perth Freight Link was designed to do, and operators wanting to further invest in the Inner Harbour.

"There was a compelling case the title of mayor Brad Pettitt’s presentation might just be the answer the Westport process is seeking – Fremantle’s Future is as a Port City," Evans says.

"At least until Perth has a larger population than Sydney."

Other points made by the panellists were:

  • without infrastructure upgrades, Fremantle Port could handle between 2.2-2.4 million TEU annually. Last year, 770,000 TEU went through the Inner Harbour.
  • 87 per cent of all truck visits to the port occur weekdays between 6am -6pm.
  • compared to 2014, trade at the port has increased by 10 per cent and there are 580 fewer trucks visiting the port to handle this increased freight task.
  • modelling done in 2014 showed that the Perth Freight Link would have removed 500 trucks per day from local roads.
  • by continuing current logistical efficiency trends, Fremantle Port could easily double today’s trade volumes without a single additional truck movement required.
  • increasing daytime weekend freight movement would further reduce the public perception of the freight task by nearly 40 per cent. 
  • in 2017, only 10 per cent of the total traffic on the main road into the port, Tydeman road, was container trucks.
  • Fremantle Inner Harbour is one of Australia’s most efficient ports, has a deeper channel than Melbourne, and can receive the largest cargo ships that visit the ports of cities more than double our size.


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