25/07/2006 - 22:00

$1.3bn port likely for Kwinana

25/07/2006 - 22:00

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Fremantle Ports and private company James Point Pty Ltd are likely to proceed with competing port projects at Kwinana after the state government revealed its preferred option for the outer harbour.

$1.3bn port likely for Kwinana

Fremantle Ports and private company James Point Pty Ltd are likely to proceed with competing port projects at Kwinana after the state government revealed its preferred option for the outer harbour.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said Fremantle Ports was proposing a man-made island port about 2.6-kilometres long and 700 metres wide.

Stage 1 of the three-stage port is expected to cost $1.3 billion, about double the estimates circulating in industry previously.

Crucially, the government’s preferred option involves building a road and rail bridge at the northern end of the island port, linking to Rowley Road.

Selecting the northern option is effectively a win for James Point, which has been trying for six years to gain environmental and planning approval for its project.

The alternative option was to have a bridge at the southern end of the island, but this would have created overlap with the company’s plans for a new land-backed wharf.

James Point chairman Hans Moonen told WA Business News earlier this month that Ms MacTiernan had asked the private company to shift its project to the north in order to facilitate the Fremantle Ports project.

He said James Point’s shareholders, including BGC boss Len Buckeridge, rejected the government proposal and were keen to pursue their own plans, which involved a cargo wharf and a container wharf that would compete directly with Fremantle Ports.

The government’s preferred option is a modified version of one of the four options it released last year for public comment.

The modifications include a realignment of the Rowley Road extension to overcome concerns about flora and fauna at Mount Brown.

Ms MacTiernan said the proposed island port would have an ultimate capacity of more than two million containers. This would make it substantially larger than the 1.2-million-container capacity of the existing harbour at Fremantle.

“The estimated cost of stage one – including the rail and road links – is around $1.3 billion,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“It is likely that, as in the inner harbour in Fremantle, the new facility will be a mix of public and private investment.”

Ms MacTiernan said Perth would need a second port within the next decade as the existing harbour reached its capacity.

“I want to emphasise that the government is committed to the inner harbour’s continued operation as a working port,” she said.

Ms MacTiernan said the preferred option was open for public comment, and this would be followed by further technical evaluation.

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