So consultants Morgan Stanley have told the NSW government it will get a better price for Port Botany if it lifts the cap on container movements through the port (“Roads pain tipped as container limit lifted”, July 31).
Most of these extra containers will end up on congested roads near Port Botany and Sydney Airport.
To make this more acceptable, the suggestion is to complete the M5 East. This will cost at least $4.5 billion.
A less costly solution would be to sell Port Kembla separately from Port Botany and connect Wollongong to western Sydney by completing the Maldon-Dombarton rail link with a four-kilometre tunnel. This would cost a much more manageable $650 million.
It would allow Port Kembla to be the second container port in NSW and keep the container movement cap at its current level at Port Botany.
Such a model works well in New Zealand, where Auckland is served by its own port and the Port of Tauranga, which is linked by a rail network complete with an eight-kilometre tunnel to an intermodal terminal in South Auckland.
The two ports are separately owned and compete with each other to give better service to shipping lines, exporters and importers.
If the NSW government is serious about regional development, it will closely consider the Auckland/Tauranga model for Sydney/Wollongong.
Philip Laird Keiraville