SIMTA runs into Defence road block

The Australian Defence Force’s most senior logistician says soldiers supplied from the proposed Moorbank intermodal terminal site must come first

SIMTA runs into Defence road block
SIMPTA runs into Defence road block

By Anna Game-Lopata | March 30, 2012

The Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) most senior logistician says soldiers supplied from the proposed Moorbank intermodal terminal site must come first.

Speaking today at the 2012 Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) forum covering intermodal freight issues, Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib AM CSC Commander Joint Logistics said her number one priority is to support operations around the globe.

She said the 83 hectare west Sydney Moorebank site, where the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA) plans to build a new intermodal terminal, is essential for the consolidation of the cargo dispatched to support
14 separate operations around the globe.

"This includes about 5,500 soldiers, many in austere conditions," Air Vice-Marchal Staib says.

The site, owned by Qube Logistics, QR National and Stockland is currently being leased back to Defence Logistics under the premise that it will be vacated in time for the new terminal to begin development in 2013.

As SupplyChain Review reported yesterday, Qube Managing Director Maurice James told delegates at the ALC Forum he has been in discussions with Defence on the issue for some time.

Marice claims he has secured an agreement with Defence Logistics for a staged withdrawal from the SIMTA site to coincide with Stage One of the development in 2013.

But Air Vice-Marshal Staib, while acknowledging the discussions, says Defence Logistics is unlikely to be in a position to vacate the site until 2014.

"In terms of where Joint Logistics Command fits in, we have put a lot of effort into moving off the SIMPTA site to an adjacent property owned by Defence," she says.

"While our Moorebank site is important, it is just one of seven sites the ADF is re-developing as part of its $2.4 billion national transformation program.

"We are currently at the fifty percent design level stage, pending second class approval from the government."

Air Vice-Marshal Staib says if parliamentary approvals expected in May and July come through, Defence will only be ready to begin construction on its adjacent site in November this year.

"Given the size of facilities which not only include warehouses, but a parachute tower and maintenance facilities for tanks, trucks and weapons, we won’t have all that complete until the end of 2014," she says.

"I am moving as fast as I can, but I can’t bend physics and I can’t proceed until we get government approval, which I believe that is imminent."

"Qube is talking about progressively releasing land and we are talking with them about that, but I cannot afford to interrupt our operations at that site because of its close linkages with our requirements overseas."

The proposed Moorebank Intermodal Facility has been recognised by both government and industry as highly critical to the future efficiency of freight movements along the choked networks servicing Port Botany.

Though opposed by the local community, the SIMTA proponents say their billion-dollar proposal could remove 2,700 truck movements from Port Botany roads annually.

SIMTA is proposing a state- of the art facility with the capacity to handle a million TEUS using a shuttle dedicated to trips back and forth to the port.

With warehousing facilities on site, the hub will also aim to handle 40 percent of incoming volumes, to significantly improve the efficiency of last mile operations for its users.

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