Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More on the prospective third stevedore

Given the significance of the imminent decision to introduce a third stevedore into Melbourne for the Port Melbourne community, I am reproducing in full the article that appeared in The Age 19 January 2009
"$25m claim from new port
A DECISION by the Victorian Government to fast forward plans to introduce a third stevedore into Melbourne will be met with a compensation claim of at least $25 million from the stevedore most affected by the decision: Asciano.
An official announcement for the $1 billion extension of Webb Dock east at Port Melbourne was scheduled for this week. But a few outstanding issues are now expected to delay the controversial announcement until the end of the month.
The news of a third stevedore comes two weeks after Asciano lost a car carrier contract in Melbourne with logistics giant Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
The big question is, why has the Victorian Government decided to take the decision now, when it had originally planned to increase capacity by spending $100 million upgrading the Swanson Dock facility, before forking out $1 billion to extend Webb Dock after 2017.
What makes the decision interesting is there is currently no rail link to Webb Dock, so all movements from a new Webb Dock container port would be by road. This is not a vote-winner for a government facing an election this year, given that such a move could add up to hundreds of thousands of truck-trips on the roads of Williamstown and Port Melbourne.
Not surprisingly, the communities at Williamstown and Port Melbourne will lobby against the proposed redevelopment. But the fiercest lobbyist will be Asciano, which stands to lose its duopoly as well as a lucrative business, which includes moving 200,000 cars a year, steel for Bluescope Steel, and break bulk cargo.
But the Government has to stand by its decision. Most contracts are won on a national basis and so the best outcome for competition, and potentially lower prices, would be a third player operating out of the three main ports.
If it reneges, it will make it a lot harder for the third operator in Sydney and Brisbane to survive in the longer term."
The Age

1 comment:

Nick said...

Thanks for the update. Interesting that Martin Foley did not flag this at a meeting with Port to Port in Dec 09. He gave the impression that the Swanston Dock upgrade was a greater priority.
Does the $1B Webb dock upgrade include reopening the rail link?