Bid war for new Melbourne car terminal

Three operators are preparing to go head to head in a bid to operate Melbourne’s new car terminal Three operators are preparing to go head to head in a bid to operate Melbourne’s new car terminal

The Port of Melbourne has announced that Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH), Wallenius Wilhelmson Logistics (WWL) and Australian Amalgamated Terminals (AAT) have all been shortlisted as bidders to operate the new car terminal at Webb Dock.

This follows the three companies being shortlisted by the port following the expression of interest phase. The port says that all three have accepted the invitation to compete in the next stage of the bidding war.

Port Strategy approached both HPH and WWL on the issue. WWL said it was "delighted to be shortlisted as a bidder" for the redevelopment of the terminal.

Rob Lord, regional director Oceania, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, said: "The opportunity to be involved in Melbourne, Australia which has been a key part of our trading network, for over 100 years, is too good to ignore."

"We welcome this opportunity to showcase our global experience, strong environmental credentials, and unique expertise - to develop something unique and effective, and well integrated to the nearby residential and commercial landscape of Melbourne."

Melbourne is already Australia’s largest automotive port. The new car terminal is part of the port’s AUS$1.6bn Port Capacity Project which aims to reconfigure Webb Dock by building a new container terminal capable of handling one million boxes per year.

When completed, the facility will also have an automotive handling facility able to handle 600,000 vehicles annually. Both facilities are expected to be operational in late 2016.

HPH and WWL have also reportedly been shortlisted for the pre-delivery vehicle inspection hub which will be located next to the new terminal and reponsible for preparing vehicles for direct delivery to dealerships across the Victoria State. But they have competition - the operators are up against three Oz companies for the tender – Autonexus, Patrick Autocare and Prixcar.

The successful bidder or bidders for the car terminal and the inspection hub should be announced before March 2014. The Port of Melbourne says that more than one operator could wind up being successful.

Webb Dock terminal aims to take pressure off the port which has been suffering from the fallout of high cargo growth - the long-term plan also calls for a new container terminal at Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula.

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