Warning over call for port nationalisation

Darwin Port Darwin Port. Image: Gaynor [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

A port expert has warned that acting on a call to “nationalise” an Australian port will result in a loss of business trust.

South Australian Labour MP Nick Champion said that Darwin Port, which Chinese company Landbridge Group has a 99-year lease for from the Australian government, should be “nationalised” but Neil Davidson, senior analyst - ports & terminals at Drewry, told Port Strategy that this would “undermine trust” in future deals.

“If the government reneges on a done deal, then it would undermine trust in all other Australian port deals,” he said. He added that the Landbridge contract, signed in 2015, was for a lease rather than an outright sale, “so it wasn't a privatisation in the true sense of the word”.

Power play

Concern over China’s growing influence in the ports sector has been exacerbated by its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which Australia has not signed up to, while China’s military presence in the Indo-Pacific region is also being monitored.

Mr Champion told ABC: “It's a very important port because we have significant defence facilities in the Northern Territory and that's the part of the world I guess we have to pay a great deal of attention to.

"We should look pretty clearly at making sure that that port is in government hands, and it's for those reasons I think it should be nationalised."

Mr Davidson pointed out that “if the lease was designed and negotiated properly, there will be various safeguards and requirements relating to Landbridge's behaviour and performance, and measures available if these are not met”.

In 2016, US$18.5m was committed to projects aimed at expanding the port’s reefer, general cargo and cruise ship capability.

LATEST PRESS RELEASES

Siwertell road-mobile capabilities added to Ashdod’s sulfur-handling operations

Bruks Siwertell has secured a further Siwertell ship unloader order from Israel’s Ashdod Port Compan... Read more

SANY Boosting Business in Europe for Container Handling Equipment

SANY Europe have had a very busy 1st half of 2019. Several orders have been secured and machines hav... Read more

SOHAR Port Anticipates Potential Business Opportunities

Muscat, July 2019: With several developmental plans underway, including future projects, SOHAR Port ... Read more

BEST - The coolest terminal in the Med

Hutchison Ports BEST terminal in the Port of Barcelona has recently increased its storage and connec... Read more

SFT participates in extensive Tema Port expansion in Ghana

Meridian Port Services (MPS) invested USD 1.5bn to expand the infrastructure of Tema Port in Ghana, ... Read more

LASE opens first office in Australia

LASE announces local presence in Perth, Australia in order to support the growing base of Australian... Read more

View all