22/02/2018 - 12:39

Southern Ports Authority to be retained

22/02/2018 - 12:39

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A review of the Southern Ports Authority released today has shone a mostly positive light on the three-way merger, with only minor concerns related to the implementation flagged in the report.

Southern Ports Authority to be retained
Bunbury Port was part of the amalgamation in 2014. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A review of the Southern Ports Authority released today has shone a mostly positive light on the three-way merger, with only minor concerns related to the implementation flagged in the report.

In October 2014, the Albany, Bunbury and Esperance port authorities were combined to form the Southern Ports Authority as part of a state government plan to reduce seven port authorities into four.

In August last year, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced a review into the amalgamation to measure the success of the merger three years in.

The report found that a number of the intended outcomes from the merger have been partially realised, including commercial improvements, higher quality governance and efficiency gains from economies of scale.

Ms Saffioti said there was no case to de-amalgamate.

“There is evidence of more robust commercial framework, asset management and maintenance planning across the three ports as a result of improved systems and through sharing learnings,” the report said.

“Anecdotally, efficiency gains have been realised by ports sharing knowledge and best practice, reducing consultancy fees and duplicated effort.

“This appears to have largely occurred in the technical and maintenance areas.”

A common tug operator for Bunbury and Esperance, which is expected to save the authority $2 million, was the clearest example of economy of scale benefits, according to the report.

The merger review also uncovered some minor problems, which were the result of implementation, rather than the amalgamation itself.

“There is a strong perception in Albany and Esperance that the amalgamation has weakened links with the local community,” the report said.

“There was a deficiency in change management processes, both pre- and postamalgamation.

“Port users and port service providers do not have sufficient clarity around Southern Ports’ strategic vision for the port authority and long-term plans for each port.”

Ms Saffioti said improvements concerning the amalgamation would contine.

“I also acknowledge that Southern Ports Authority will be facing major challenges, particularly in Esperance port, responding to trade changes over the coming year that are outside its control,” she said.

“I look forward to the port moving forward in close consultation with its employees, port users and the local community to meet those challenges.” 

 

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