Conflict on containers – Newcastle Herald

Author: By MATTHEW KELLY
Date: 21/02/2011
Words: 219
Source: NCH

A NEWCASTLE container terminal would struggle to be viable because it would be unable to compete with existing ports, a ports industry expert believes.

The major factor is the deepening of Australia’s largest port, Melbourne, which is designed to allow larger container vessels into Australia.

Sydney and Brisbane ports are handling the bulk of the remaining traffic.

“The prospect of ships wanting to come to Newcastle is diminished,” the source, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

“You would be running a very slim operation. If you don’t get the big volume then you can’t invest in the infrastructure because it doesn’t pay its way.”

The prospect of double-handling is also considered a drawback.

“Unloading is one cost, reloading it onto a train is another cost, then bringing it down by train is another cost and unloading it in Sydney is another cost. You have four extra costs on each container,” the source said.

The analysis is at odds with those who are pushing for a container terminal to be built at Newcastle.

They include Anglo Ports and Newcastle Stevedores who have expressed interest in operating a Newcastle container terminal.

Support for the terminal was also reflected in a weekend Newcastle Herald online poll where 55 per cent of respondents said they supported a container terminal on the former BHP site.