Renewed calls for Kwinana port
PROPONENTS of a new port have seized on the Fremantle Port Authority’s (FPA) 2016-17 annual report, saying growth is restricted and more dredging and new cranes could be needed.
“Why does FPA call for significant infrastructure upgrades to a port that has no capacity to provide space for industry expansion and again attempts to lock in all the associated problems with freight transport?” Western Harbours Alliance (WHA) spokeswoman Kim Dravnieks said.
The 2016-17 report said urban encroachment and nearby land uses in Fremantle would “restrict the ability of the port to develop its optimum capacity” and increases public safety risks.
The WHA argues a new port at the north end of Kwinana would have land for unrestricted operations that could develop new industries and about 30,000 jobs.
Ms Dravnieks said the report was the first time the FPA had said its riverside harbour needed deepening, from about 14.5m to at least 16.5m, for planned 12,500container New Panamax-class ships, which need new larger cranes and tugs.
“This could cost $500 million, $1 billion or more, and it doesn’t even consider the road and rail upgrades required, and it is possible that environmental consultants are already looking at widening the harbour for turning larger ships,” Ms Dravnieks said.
The FPA report said grains were still the port’s largest product, making up 34.8 per cent of all goods from Fremantle and Kwinana wharves.
New port advocates say higher-value industries and specialist agriculture products could develop at the facility to resolve WA’s trade imbalance, which causes empty containers to be the largest export from Fremantle.
FPA chief executive Chris Leatt-Hayter said the report’s information did not mean additional deepening was now being proposed or imply the FPA would oppose more port facilities in the future.
Mr Leatt-Hayter said the FPA had planned for new harbour facilities after the riverside harbour reached its capacity.
■ New port forum, November 20 from 7pm at Victoria Hall, High Street, Fremantle.