Key to port potential lies on the land

MORE efficient land transport corridors are needed to boost the potential of WA’s ports, says Seafreight Export Council executive director Michael O’Callaghan.

“The job is done well now but we have to build on the efficiencies that are already there,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

The effectiveness of WA’s ports is crucial to the State’s economic growth.

Fremantle port is responsible for an annual economic benefit to WA of $728 million.

It has been suggested that double stacking containers on trains from Fremantle would improve land transport efficiency.

Double stacking is simply placing one container on top of another.

Mr O’Callaghan said double-stacking could be an option from Kewdale onwards.

The FPA sends 2 per cent to 3 per cent of its container cargo east via rail.

This figure could rise to 20 per cent or 30 per cent if the double stacking of cargo was allowed.

Fremantle Port Authority CEO Kerry Sanderson said three trains could replace 240 to 300 trucks if double stacking was allowed.

Mrs Sanderson said most of the infrastructure was in place to allow double stacking. It appears the height of just two sets of powerlines currently stands in the way.

“I would hope it would be a reality within 12 months,” she said.

Mr O’Callaghan said the issue of intermodal terminals – a terminal where cargo can be transferred from one mode of transport to another – also needed to be considered.

“Two areas where I think intermodal terminals are needed are Kewdale and Kwinana,” he said.

Mrs Sanderson said Fremantle’s rail terminal counted as an intermodal terminal of sorts.

The FPA is looking at how best to design rail uses when the Leighton marshalling yards are redeveloped.

One threat to the operations of WA’s ports is encroachment by other uses, particularly residential.

Mrs Sanderson said there had been situations where residential uses had been developed close to an existing industrial use.

The new residents then complained about noise or emissions from the existing use.

The FPA has initiated a buffer definition plan to make sure complementary uses are put into its buffer zone.

It is the first organisation in WA to take this approach.

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