16/10/2017 - 15:02

Flat year at Fremantle Ports

16/10/2017 - 15:02

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The volume of freight through Fremantle Ports has remained static for the third year running, raising further questions about when the proposed outer harbour development at Cockburn Sound will be needed.

About 716,000 standard containers went through the port in FY17. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The volume of freight through Fremantle Ports has remained static for the third year running, raising further questions about when the proposed outer harbour development at Cockburn Sound will be needed.

The government-owned facility posted a 1.1 per cent increase in total port trade to 35.3 million mass tonnes for the year to June 2017, according to data in its newly released annual report.

The higher FY17 result was just short of the port’s FY15 result of 35.8 million mass tonnes.

About 716,000 standard containers (measured as 20-foot equivalent units, or TEU for short) went through the port in FY17, up a slight 0.11 per cent on FY16 and down from its FY15 result of 743,500 TEU.

To put that in context, the port authority has previously stated the inner harbour at Fremantle has a capacity of about 1.2 million TEUs.

Rapid growth during the mining construction boom raised concerns the inner harbour would reach capacity by 2020 or shortly thereafter, but that clearly will not transpire.

“Overall trade through the Port of Fremantle has been flat this year, consistent with the broader business climate in Western Australia,” chairman Jim Limerick said.

“Despite the subdued trading conditions, Fremantle Ports’ financial performance has remained sound, principally as a result of considered expenditure restraint.”

Mr Limerick said revenue fell by 4.2 per cent to $211.5 million.

Fremantle Ports generated a net profit of $47.6 million for the year, down from $52.3 million in the previous year.

Planning for an outer harbour was one of the McGowan government's key election promises, as it promoted alternatives to the contentious Perth Freight Link plan, which was designed to support increased truck movements to the existing inner harbour. 

A taskforce made up of representatives from a range of government departments will next year produce a series of plans for the Kwinana outer harbour development, including a master plan and a transport plan.

Mr Limerick said a plan for the future was critical.

“A critically important issue for our business going forward is the development of a master plan to guide the future development of port and landside links to manage trade growth over the next 30-50 years,” he said.

“This matter is being championed by the state government and Fremantle Ports is fully appreciative of the priority given to it.

“This will assist Fremantle Ports in undertaking its statutory function to plan for the future growth and development of the port.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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