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Western Australia reveals design for new container terminal

The WA government says the new port will support its economic growth and diversification

The Western Australian government has unveiled the preferred design and location for a new container terminal in Kwinana, marking a major milestone for the project that the WA government says will keep its economy strong for the next century. 

“This is economic infrastructure that sets our state up for the long-term,” WA premier Roger Cook says. 

“A world class port in Kwinana is critical for our state to remain a global economic and industrial powerhouse for decades to come, supporting thousands of local WA jobs. 

“Through this design, we can ensure WA can continue to meet trade demand long into the future while strengthening our supply chain lines and improving road safety in the southern suburbs.” 

Planning for a new container terminal in WA has been ongoing for many years, with modelling consistently showing Fremantle Port and its surrounding roads will reach capacity within the next two decades. 

Fremantle Port currently imports and exports around 800,000 containers annually, but this is expected to grow to more than three million containers over the next 50 years. 

The WA government says that ensuring ithas a terminal and freight network capable of supporting the projected growth in container trade is critical to its economy over the next century. 

Having a port and freight network that can support the expected growth in Western Australia’s container trade is absolutely essential to the long-term health of our economy,” WA transport minister Rita Saffioti says. 

“Any restrictions on our capacity to meet future demand for container trade would place a significant handbrake on our economy, push up the price of household goods, hurt local businesses and reduce our capacity to create jobs. 

“We believe this preferred design addresses the core objectives of providing value and benefit to WA’s economy, society and environment.” 

The preferred design and location have been established following 18 months of detailed design and consultation with key stakeholders plus the outcomes of the 2020 Westport Independent Taskforce stage two report. 

The design includes the terminal being adjacent to the current Kwinana terminal, a new breakwater to provide enhanced protection to the port, major upgrades to Anketell Road, Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway, duplication of the freight rail between the terminal and Cockburn and upgrades to key intermodal terminals (IMT) at Kenwick and Forrestfield. 

Along with the terminal catering to larger ships than Fremantle Port, the location also avoids impact on other critical public infrastructure such as Water Corp’s desalination plant and Synergy’s power plants. 

Design concepts were assessed against a range of criteria including environmental, long-term sustainability, supply chain network efficiency and financial value to WA’s short and long-term economy. 

Westport also engagedextensively with leading experts in engineering, marine science, sustainability and transport to develop and review design options. 

The Westport program recognises that the Kwinana Bulk Terminal in the Outer Harbour is critical for economic growth in the Western Trade Coast,” WA ports minister David Michael says.  

“The relocation and upgrade of this terminal’s jetty is a critical enabler for Westport and is planned to be constructed ahead of the new container terminal.” 

The Western Australian Marine Science Institution Westport Marine Science Program also led a number of studies aimed at mitigating and offsetting the impacts of a new container port. 

Planning on an appropriate location for non-container trade at Fremantle Port is still ongoing, with the project business case expected to be completed by mid-2024. 

The WA government says moving container trade away from the port will unlock around 260 hectares of inner urban land in Fremantle, which in turn will support its growing population. 

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