Many ports in a storm is better – Newcastle Herald

IAN Kirkwood referred to a number of reasons put forward by Duncan Gay, the Roads and Freight Minister, as to why the NSW government prevented the development of a container terminal at Newcastle, one of these being that shipping lines do not want “numerous ports of call” (‘‘No terminal for Newcastle’’ Herald 23/9).

How is it then that in the South Island of New Zealand the same shipping lines call at five ports on the East Coast with just 700km between the northern and southernmost port.

Times have changed – inland transport and container logistics costs are now dominant in the cost of shipping while sea-freight rates have plummeted. To be competitive exporters and importers need to minimise landside costs and exporters especially need an even hand in this equation.

It was this even hand that was envisaged for Newcastle.

So where is the difference? In New Zealand politicians were motivated by the sense that success would also seal their future – their support was open and consistent – they were experienced and understood transport dynamics.

Sadly the same cannot be said for the majority of the NSW politicians who misled the many people who toiled repeatedly to refine a proposal that was never going to see the light of day.

Mick Payze, Shipping and

Freight Enterprises director,

Toronto