Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, perth freight link, state government, western australia by freoview on April 18, 2016

There is a good editorial in the West Australian newspapers today about the Perth Freight Link by Economic Editior Shane Wright. It is nice to read something that is not bias or has political motivation, as it clears the head a bit from the hubris one often gets from political parties and NIMBYS.

Editor Shane Wright rightly questions the process of the project and writes that before the announcement in May 2014 the Perth Freight Link did not exist and all the WA government wanted was to build the Roe 8 highway extension and upgrade the High Street, Stirling Highway intersection to accommodate trucks. I have to note here that both these projects were also controversial and locals protested against them.

Shane Wright says that one of the largest pieces of public road ever to be built in WA was “Thrown together far too quickly.” And that “Such a large project was always going to face problems, from legal to construction.”

As many opponents have stated, the PFL might solve some of the issues getting freight to Fremantle Port and associated traffic problems, but Shane Wright points out that there is a “glaring problem” as the PFL fails to cross the Swan River and reach the port. “A truck carpark is going to be created where the new built road pops up near the Canning Highway.” he writes.

He continues with mentioning the Supreme Court ruling on the Environmental Protection Authority failed process and that this all could have been avoided if proper process had taken place.

I believe what all governments and all political parties too often do to gain political mileage is damaging, as costly delays happen, consultants get paid huge sums for ill-conceived projects that never get off the ground, unnecessary anxiety is created in the community, and they waste enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money by grandstanding to get some political gain. That really is the story of the Perth Freight Link shambles.

Roel Loopers

18 Responses

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  1. Martin said, on April 19, 2016 at 10:59 pm


    64,000 vehicles cross the river every day, with far less then 10% of this being trucks. Approximately 37,000 vehicles use High St (truck route) per day.

    North Freo is clogged by cars, not trucks. There may be an increase in car traffic due to induced demand but there will only be an increase in trucks due to induced demand if they choose to get containers off rail and move to road. Other than that, the induced demand argument regarding trucks serving the port is complete bollocks. Truck movements are dictated by container movements.

    However, the problem with the current tunnel solution is that if a freeway arrives at Stirling Hwy with no solution through North Freo, you will get an effect similar to a “water hammer” when the freeway ends. Fast flowing traffic comes to an abrupt halt at the first traffic light (Marmion St), causing chaos. Total daily traffic numbers may end up the same, but the manner in which they arrive will be more variable / volatile – the other traffic lights inland currently moderate the flow. North Freo / Tydeman Rd probably won’t feel the problem as much as Stirling Hwy in East Freo.

    The argument about the PFL increasing truck movements north through Cottesloe is pure fiction and scaremongering – but they have been successful, so hats off to them!

    The State government would be better spending the tunnel money solving the river crossing / North Freo first. High St and Stock Rd could cope for a bit longer, and that tunnel could come later.

    New harbour or not, North Freo is already clogged with traffic, and will only get much worse. It needs to be fixed now, and as a priority. Why is this not the focus of our local leaders? Politics…

    Perhaps if they build the tunnel starting at the port end, they could use the tunnel material to reclaim land there and increase the size of the port… Solve two problems in one go – disposing of the tunnel material is expensive.

    If you try to reason with the anti-PFL crowd you will slowly drive yourself mad. Perhaps focus on trying other pastimes like herding cats or nailing jelly to the wall – a far more productive use of time…

  2. Jon said, on April 19, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I would have to ask how old are Pauls figures on the 9% increase per year are?
    Would they be based on the hay days of the mining boom figures or is he claiming the government is today claiming a 9% increase in port figures per year?
    Or is cherry picking his stats to attempt to make a case for his attempt at a point?

  3. Jon said, on April 19, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Brad I’m amazed that you would state the land and rail is near capacity.
    A simple movement of more container traffic after 9pm by road would have a massive increase in road container movements.
    The other way to look at your statement is that the PFL will actually increase/improve movements out of the port. You have just made an argument to build the PFL.

    It seems time management has not been discussed for the harbour operation which is common practise all around the world. Perhaps Fremantle could benefit from such a operational model.

    As I have read on many locations/ sites no one is disagreeing with the outer harbour nor the Lat 32 operation.
    But the Lat 32 from all info I have read needs Roe 8 to function.
    I see you mention the PFL in discussion on the outer harbour.
    But did not mention Roe 8 which is the noted requirement for the Lat 32.
    It seems your position is a bit hazy on this as most just avoid the topic.

    Can you clearly state you believe that Lat 32 does not need the Roe 8 to function efficiently

  4. Jon said, on April 19, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Sounds like a great solution Brad, make Fremantle such an undesirable destination by car, that no one wants to come.
    From many comments here and other blogs it seems you haves achieved that goal with retail in Fremantle.
    So your plan is do nothing, as reported in your own CUSP report the port will grow anyway, the population in Fremantle will also continue to grow.
    Amazing that a local government is planning to make their city a disaster for traffic movement.
    No wonder places like this Booragoon plan to double in size while Fremantle just continues to regress.

  5. Lionel said, on April 19, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Not really. These are the questions that no anti-PFL spokesperson answers:

    Do you think the number of trucks on the road servicing the port will increase without the PFL?
    How will this affect the traffic on the current road system?
    How would building the PFL (minus the connection to the port) make this worse?

  6. freoview said, on April 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I don’t presume to know better than Minister Nalder but I do presume he will say anything to wipe the egg off his face because the planning, if one can call it that, of the PFL has been one of the most unprofessional projects in WA.


  7. Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog said, on April 19, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    The Fremantle Ports capacity is made up of two distinct elements – waterside capacity and land side capacity.

    The Government is on record saying that the water side capacity depending on crane technologies is somewhere between 1.2 and 2 million TEU (we are at just over 700, 000 TEU now).

    Land side capacity (road and rail) is already close to capacity but it is probably about 900, 000 to 1 million TEU before it becomes seriously inefficient.

    The PFL (assuming is somehow makes it all the way to the Port) of freeway standard road wil push that capacity up to an unspecified number but probably around 1.5 million – double where it si now.

    But the key point is without the PFL they will need the outer harbour in the next 5 to 10 years.

    I hope that answers your question.

    cheers, Brad

  8. Lionel said, on April 19, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I am affected by it but I still don’t understand the anti-PFL argument. Tydeman road is already a dogs breakfast but building a tunnel on the other side of the river will have no impact on this (except to maybe improve it).

    “So the tunnel will be spewing out a lot of traffic that needs to be squeezed over the narrow bridge.”

    This already happens. Improving the roads on the south of the river will not change anything other than to handle south bound traffic better and potentially improve northbound traffic due to an upgraded intersection. Why do you think there will suddenly be more traffic wanting to cross the bridge than there is now?

    “Minister Nalder believes that a bridge upgrade or tunnel or whatever is not needed and that it won’t happen for ten years”

    You seem to miss out the bit where Minister Nalder said that the canning highway/stirling highway intersection had been modelled and this showed that by upgrading it, it would handle the congestion for the next 10 years. Why do you presume to know better?

    Of course in a perfect world the tunnel would carry through to the port but rejecting the entire project because this bit hasn’t yet been finalised is madness. The professional protesters have swept up a lot of people into their haze and are potentially jeopardising 2 billion dollars being spent in Fremantle. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  9. freoview said, on April 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    There are also many questions that government mob can’t answer, Lionel and according to today’s paper Minister Nalder believes that a bridge upgrade or tunnel or whatever is not needed and that it won’t happen for ten years. So the tunnel will be spewing out a lot of traffic that needs to be squeezed over the narrow bridge. The future of North Fremantle is threatened but you don’t seem to be worried about it. In what part of Nth Freo do you live. Are you affected by the Tydeman Road traffic congestion??


  10. Lionel said, on April 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Let the dredging of Cockburn sound begin. Oh wait, here come the professional protesters complaining about that too. Best of luck.

  11. Lionel said, on April 19, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Ignoring the red herring about induced demand, lets consider your second point. Is it your position that port capacity will remain unchanged until the day the PFL is complete or do you think that capacity will increase regardless of the PFL? If the later, will the traffic get worse with the existing roads and increasing capacity or not? How would increasing road capacity make this scenario worse?

    There are so many questions the anti-PFL mob can’t answer that it takes away their credibility. I am all for an outer harbour in Kwinana and a boutique port in Freo but it isn’t happening in the near future. Take the federal money and improve the current roads or shut up.

  12. freoishome said, on April 19, 2016 at 11:45 am

    This isn’t about maintaining the status quo! Annual growth of 9% from the Gov’t own projections!

    Supervisors and middle managers role is about maintaining a current operation including expected growth using the same approach.

    Executives, Boards, Governments are supposedly the Leaders, ie, visionaries, agents of change.

    The current conservative gov’t are behaving like supervisors. Their imagination doesn’t go any further than more trucks moving the increasing numbers of import/export containers.

    Leaders don’t start with the status quo, they start from totally different perspectives, “what if….”. Many saying what would be the ideal scenario, forget the constraints at this stage in thinking. Many scenarios might crop up, so then filter out the impossible, and prioritise investigating the plausible.

    As a motorist, the very last thing I want, is 9%pa growth of trucks on any road I use. I want import/export container movement within the metro, off the roads altogether, ie, 100% on freight rail, to a smaller container specific port, that operates 24/7, using state of the art logistics, without causing interference to the residential and recreational communities and facilities. Leave the roads for the distribution trucks and other road users. Short haul freight rail operational costs might be a few % greater, but ratio of costs and asset use will be markedly improved. Is this possible, what is stopping it becoming reality

    This is not the same solution as Lat 31 or CUSP.

    Freight rail to the current port can never reach 100%. The port has significant limitations to expand the length and depth needed for modern efficient container ships. Under any scenario, it will never meet future volume needs.

    So transition to a completely new purpose built high tech container port. Initially it only needs to cater for the 9% growth, but as more facilities come on stream raise its capacity, to reduce the burden on the current Freo Port, so that it can migrate completely away from container freight to a new role. That should include transitioning land no longer required for Ports Ops to become part of the CoF. Fremantle needs to gain more control and access to the ocean it adjoins for community rather than commercial benefit. In time the existing freight rail to Freo Port, would reduce making its use for passenger rail more feasible.

    Am I the only motorist that wants less import/export trucks filling our roads?

  13. Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog said, on April 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Roel and Shane Wright are correct A well known effect of new roads is “induced demand” and add this to a growing capacity for the port that the PFL enables and North Freo will be increasingly unpleasant.
    regards, Brad

  14. Lionel said, on April 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    The intersection where the tunnel ends will have the exact same amount of traffic it has now and any change to that is an improvement. Ending the tunnel there offers the chance to upgrade the interchange to improve traffic flow.

    According to your logic, all the upgrades to the interchanges on leach and tonkin highway should have made traffic flow worse.

  15. freoview said, on April 18, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Because it will divert traffic from other roads as it will be easier and supposedly faster for trucks, and other traffic, to get to the port and from south to north, so more people will be using the new road and end up at the end of the tunnel where they will be blinded by the light to nowhere.


  16. Lionel said, on April 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Isn’t it already a bottleneck? Why would building a new road increase traffic? I am yet to hear an answer to this question.

  17. freoview said, on April 18, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Because the bridge will become a bottleneck and then Tydeman Road. The ‘experts’ have not yet found a decent solution to extend the Perth Freight Link into the port.


  18. Lionel said, on April 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

    “A truck carpark is going to be created where the new built road pops up near the Canning Highway.”

    Why would this happen? Shane should stick to economics, leave traffic flow to the experts.

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