New container port favoured for Perth

Port of Freemantle The Westport Taskforce doesn't want to expand the Port of Fremantle. Image: Fremantle Ports

A shortlist of five port and supply chain options to manage Perth's long-term freight requirements has been released with all options proposing a new container port.

The Government of Western Australia said the assessments of the independent Westport Taskforce ranked 25 different options featuring the ports at Fremantle, Bunbury and Kwinana against each other. Three shortlisted options feature container operations - all of which are currently managed at Fremantle - being moved to a new port in Kwinana Outer Harbour. Two further options propose sharing the container-handling task between Fremantle and Kwinana, or transitioning over a longer period of time.

Western Australia Ports Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, said: "The plan to build a second major port at Kwinana has existed since the Stephenson-Hepburn Plan back in the 1950s. This is not new thinking; the Outer Harbour port has been supported by both sides of Government for decades. Westport's work confirms that this remains the best option.”

Freemantle rated poorly

The shortlist features the options that were awarded the highest scores across a range of important criteria, including capital costs and social and environmental impacts.

Several Fremantle-only options were assessed in Westport's process but rated poorly due to significant economic and social impediments. The government said the analysis reinforced that a standalone Fremantle Inner Harbour would not work in the medium to long-term, even with the Roe 8 and 9 road improvements, part of the now cancelled Perth Freight Link.

Westport highlighted that even when factoring in a range of major road corridor upgrades, the Fremantle Inner Harbour's transport network will reach capacity by the mid-2030s.

However, building a new port may take up to ten years to deliver, said the government.

Westport also assessed four Bunbury options, but distance from Perth, high capital costs and port depth constraints prevented them from making the shortlist.

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