Se­cond port ques­tioned

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Jon Bas­sett

A HEAVY­WEIGHT Fre­man­tle Town Hall meet­ing of about 500 wharfies, other union­ists, fish­ers and some res­i­dents was told a se­cond con­tainer port at Hen­der­son could be five to 20 years away.

“I was in Rot­ter­dam a few weeks ago and they were doing an outer har­bour and it took 20 years,” West­port task­force chair­man Tim Collins said at the meet­ing last Wed­nes­day.

The State Govern­men­tini­ti­ated task­force was cre­ated af­ter pub­lic, in­dus­try and po­lit­i­cal pres­sure for a com­pre­hen­sive port, truck and lo­gis­tics plan for the South-West af­ter the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s failed bid to build the un­planned ex­ten­sion of the Roe 8 High­way to North Fre­man­tle in 2017.

MUA WA deputy sec­re­tary Adrian Evans said Fre­man­tle Port could triple its an­nual con­tainer ca­pac­ity to more than 2.2 mil­lion and not reach its limit un­til 2045, caus­ing a res­i­dent to ask why a se­cond port, touted to cost at least $6 bil­lion ini­tially, had to be in­ves­ti­gated by the task­force.

Mr Evans said de­vel­op­ers were lob­by­ing to build on North Quay in North Fre­man­tle, from which only 48 per cent of trucks left and ar­rived with full con­tain­ers.

He said there would be no need for a se­cond port if cur­rent ca­pac­ity was in­creased by mea­sures such as con­tainer de­liv­er­ies out­side of nor­mal work­ing hours and con­tin­u­ing ef­fi­cien­cies which had re­duced the num­ber of daily trucks by 580 since 2014.

Emerg­ing lithium pro­ces­sors did not need a se­cond port be­cause their es­ti­mated ex­ports in 13,000 con­tain­ers could com­prise part of the 120,000 which left Fre­man­tle empty each year.

“Un­for­tu­nately that can’t hap­pen, as the lithium prod­uct ab­sorbs CO2 and there­fore must have its own spe­cialised con­tainer,” Western Har­bours Al­liance chair Kim Dravnieks said af­ter the meet­ing.

Fre­man­tle Har­bour mas­ter Al­lan Grey said size was the is­sue, as new 400m-long ves­sels would not use the port be­cause they re­quired up­grades to all Aus­tralian ports.

The task­force is due to pro­vide its ini­tial re­port next month.

Pam­phlets out­lined the view of union­ists, in­clud­ing MUA na­tional pres­i­dent Chris Cain (right).

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