14/05/2015 - 15:49

All change at Fremantle

14/05/2015 - 15:49

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The state government’s decision to sell Fremantle Ports is likely to halt two separate sale and tender processes currently under way, including privatisation of the port’s automotive trade.

All change at Fremantle

The state government’s decision to sell Fremantle Ports is likely to halt two separate sale and tender processes currently under way, including privatisation of the port’s automotive trade.

The port authority has also commenced a tender process for its stevedoring contracts, held by DP World and Patrick.

The government and its financial advisers will review these and other activities at the port, to determine the optimum package for the planned sale.

The sale will include Kwinana Bulk Terminal, which the government had until now been endeavouring to sell separately.

It will also encompass the Kwinana Bulk Jetty, and will therefore most likely bring to an end calls for a private sector company to develop and operate a new bulk liquids berth.

Fremantle Ports announced in January last year that the new berth would be an extension of the Kwinana Bulk Jetty, a common-user facility that currently handles both dry and liquid bulk trades.

The Kwinana facilities will most likely be encompassed in plans for a multi-billion dollar outer harbour development at Cockburn Sound, which the port’s new owner will have the right to develop once the existing harbour reaches capacity in 10-15 years.

The low-key privatisation of the port’s automotive trade has been under way since 2013, when Fremantle Ports called for expressions of interest from the private sector to develop and operate a new automotive terminal on Victoria Quay.

The two companies short listed to bid for the new automotive terminal have only recently gained clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

ACCC approval was needed because the two bidders are closely associated with other shipping, stevedoring and automotive services companies.

One bidder, Victoria Quay International RoRo Terminal, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), which operates a shipping business in competition with other terminal users at Fremantle.

The second bidder, Australian Amalgamated Terminals, is jointly owned by listed companies Qube Holdings and Asciano, which already run major stevedoring operations at Fremantle.

In addition, QUBE has a 25 per cent stake in Prixcar Services and Asciano has an 80 per cent interest in Patrick Autocare, which provide vehicle processing, storage and distribution services at the port.

The two short-listed bidders have provided enforceable undertakings to the ACCC, to ensure they operate an open access service that is ring-fenced from their other operations if they win the tender.

On this basis, the ACCC announced that it would not oppose the two bidders from acquiring a long-term lease to develop and operate the automotive and roll-on, roll-off terminal at Victoria Quay.

Up to 100,000 vehicles are imported each year through Fremantle, representing more than two-thirds of all new vehicles coming into the state.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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