Freo's View



The opinion piece by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt in today’s West Australian about the pros and cons of an outer harbour, and the continuation of Fremantle as a working port is pragmatic and realistic, and without the political spin we are often getting about this important topic.

Brad Pettitt rightly argues that there is no immediate need for an outer harbour in Kwinana and that the environmental damage to Cockburn Sound might well be unacceptable. The Mayor also points out that shifting the port away from Fremantle would “erode Fremantle’s history and identity and lead to a big loss of economic activity…”

I agree with the Freo Mayor that the Perth Freight Link was a flawed plan that did not resolve how to get freight to the port, and that increased container freight by rail, with a new rail bridge across the Swan River, could see Fremantle continue as our much-liked working port.

It is a good idea to move the offloading of imported vehicles to Kwinana, or even Bunbury, and maybe also the scrap metal and live sheep transport.

A new rail bridge and rail line and better use of freight on roads, where we no longer see empty trucks running in and out of the port, and more freight by road during the evenings, are all part of the solution.

Fremantle Ports and the State Government should also become serious about part development of Victoria Quay and prioritise this by changing the buffer zones around the port, so that tourist and residential accommodation will be possible.

Moving the car imports away from Fremantle can be done very fast and does not need large infrastructure investment and the same applies to sheep trade.

I love the working port of Fremantle and would hate to see it become only a port for cruise ships. The container ships are part of Freo’s history and should continue to be so for many more years.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2018



The first progress report by the WESTPORT Taskforce is an interesting read. It came out yesterday, so check it out on-line as it is quite substantial.

I had a quick look at the WHAT HAVE WE FOUND SO FAR report and there are two points I consider very important for Fremantle. The first one is that the report states that Fremantle Port would be capable of handling double the number of containers it does now, as long as improved road and rail access to deliver and pick up container freight is part of the development.

The second one is maybe even more important as it means that residential and other development along Victoria Quay does not have to be halted until the port stops accepting containers.

The reports states: However, the Fremantle Port buffer is a guideline rather than a State statutory and use planning instrument. It does not preclude planning for additional residential development, even in the area closest to the port, and is dependent on local governments to regulate.

This is really important, because so far any attempt at wanting to build residential or hotel accommodation at Victoria Quay has been dismissed as not being possible because of the buffer zone around the port. It might just need a different, less rigid, approach by the Fremantle Ports board and management.

And a few more snippets from the report:

Changing community expectations about what is shipped from the port should be recognised as a constraint to development in the Fremantle study area. With the relocation of some trades, the port could expand its container operations or alternatively, use the space for non-port purposes.

Changing land use within the port buffer could open opportunities for a range of recreation, commercial and residential activities around Victoria Quay and in North Fremantle.

Key considerations of future work will be to: determine how long Fremantle’s Inner Harbour can efficiently and safely operate alongside the increasingly urban environment of the City of Fremantle; assess the impacts that trucks and other traffic has on suburbs west of the Kwinana Freeway as well as on access to the port; identify opportunities to facilitate and grow trade; assess if and when any trades should be moved to a different port location; and plan for the infrastructure required to keep freight moving efficiently and the economy growing for decades to come.

Any change to Fremantle Port operation will be long-term and won’t be happening for many years. It is quite clear from this progress report that there is no immediate need to move all port operation to Kwinana or Bunbury, but that a long transitional period might be required to move some operations.

The Westport Taskforce will continue to work, explore and consult with all affected communities and stakeholders, and nothing will happen overnight, or next year.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, containers, fremantle ports, maritime, stevedores, Uncategorized by freoview on September 26, 2018





The Chinese vessel Zhen Hua 24 departed Fremantle Port at sunset on Tuesday evening, heading for Brisbane to deliver one of the massive 50metre-high container cranes there, as she had also done in Fremantle.

The cranes are for DP World operation around Australia and four of them were still onboard when the ship left, which made for a very impressive sight, and is one of the many reasons why I love the working Freo port.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on September 22, 2018


cranes 1

cranes 3


The Zhen Huan 24 was scheduled to leave Fremantle Port at 1.30pm on Friday, but it did not happen, although the mooring ropes had been released and two tug boats were waiting for over an hour.

I wanted to take a photo of the five huge 50-metre-high cranes onboard the ship dwarfing the green lighthouse on the South Mole, but unfortunately that did not eventuate, so I waited in vain for an hour and a half.

I took these two photos instead, the one with the railway station showing why a working port is such a unique attraction for our city.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on September 20, 2018


port 1

port 2


I was not aware that the Chinese ship Zhen Hua 24 carrying five huge container cranes had entered Fremantle Port, so it was an amazing sight to see it at berth at North Quay this morning, where it offloaded one of the cranes.

The cranes are 50 metres high and weigh 1200 tonnes and are delivered at DP World stevedores in Australian ports, one of them Fremantle.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2018


A large flyer has been put in letterboxes around Fremantle in support of Fremantle Port to continue as a working port.

‘FREMANTLE PORT WORKS’ the anonymous flyer claims, citing a $ 250 million upgrade in 2010 and that the port has the capacity to operate for another 25+ years.

Fremantle Port is currently trading around 700,000 TEUs per year but could handle volumes of 2.2-2.4 million TEUs the flyer claims.

The authors of the flyer also state that in 2017 only 10% of traffic on Tydeman Road were container trucks, and that only 48% of trucks visiting Fremantle Port were laden both at arrival and departure. Trade volumes have increased since 2015 but truck movements have decreased, the flyer screams in bold type.

We don’t need a new port in Kwinana that would destroy forever the environmentally sensitive Cockburn Sound, the authors write.

It shows that the deliberations by the WESTPORT taskforce about a new port and scaling down or closing Fremantle Port as a container port are emotive issues in our community, so the forum this evening at the Fremantle Townhall will hopefully shed some light on the facts and fiction of a new port and the future of Fremantle Port.

The forum is on TODAY from 6-8pm. See you there!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on August 26, 2018


There will be a special Fremantle Council meeting on Wednesday to discuss Main Roads proposal for the High Street roundabout and safer freight connectivity to Fremantle Port.

The proposal is meant to make the trip for trucks to and from Fremantle Port faster, safer and easier, while also addressing pedestrian safety by putting two underpasses under the road, one at the Montreal/High street intersection and one near Forrest Street under Stirling Highway.

The widening of the road will have an impact on the Royal Fremantle and public golf courses, and Booyeembara Park, and will also affect FERN and the Frank Gibson Park.

A slip street at High Street for traffic travelling to the city from the east will make that journey a bit easier as well.

Fremantle Council will ask for Main Roads land at Clontarf Hill to compensate for the loss of green space the widening of the road will cause.

The Special Council meeting on Wednesday was also going to deal with the tenders for the civic centre, but that item has been scratched, so the only item on the agenda is the High Street/Stirling Highway Upgrade Project.


Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, containers, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on May 5, 2018




Fremantle stevedores DL World and Patrick’s are not very happy that Fremantle Ports has put out a general tender for the management of the container terminals on North Quay.

Yesterday Minister Rita Saffioti announced the Expressions of Interest for a seven-year lease and it appears the present operators were not aware of that.

DL World and Patrick’s have spent many millions of dollars on upgrading the facilities, getting bigger and better cranes, etc. over the past decades, so they were expecting the WA state government to liaise with them about new leases instead of a general tender.

The whole port thing is becoming a bit of a shambles, with millions of dollars wasted by the previous Liberal Government on legal advise and expert opinions for the intended sale/lease of Fremantle Port, and now the Westport task force will advise the government if a new outer harbour is viable and if it should be constructed at Kwinana or elsewhere.

It is also questionable if any new or present operator would substantially invest in the terminals when the lease is only for a 7+2 year period.

Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on May 4, 2018


Fremantle Ports is asking for tenders for new leases for the two container shipping terminals at North Quay.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced today that the opportunity was being offered in an open market expression of interest process.

The intention is to grant new seven-year leases with options for extensions for two further periods of up to seven years, at the discretion of Fremantle Ports and dependant on the outcome of the Westport: Port and Environs Strategy.

A new management agreement for the operation of the North Quay Rail Terminal will also be put in place through a parallel Request for Proposals process.

A seven-year lease is relatively short, so that must mean the McGown government is serious about a new overflow port near Kwinana.

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2017


I was given a copy of an eight-page flyer The Truth About The Flawed Outer Harbour Plan, written by the Maritime Union of Australia WA Branch secretary and National President Christy Cain.

It’s always good to try to see all sides of an argument, so let’s have a look at the facts the MUA published in the leaflet.

# The MUA claims that Fremantle Port is only running at 50% capacity and that there is no need for a premature costly duplication of the port at Kwinana.

# The MUA supports the long-term vision of an overflow port at Kwinana when it is needed, but say it is not needed yet, and that the volume at Fremantle Port has been falling for some time.

# The proposed cap on Fremantle Port is lower than the current volume and would be anticompetitive, the union claims. It would prevent the current terminal operators to grow.

# 90% of containers to and from the port are on the road between 6am-6pm Monday to Friday. The port operates 24/7 but nearly all containers are handled in just 35% of all the hours available.

# Better coordination of road transport, plus general decline in volume has seen a 11% reduction in truck visits to Fremantle Port over the last two years.

# Rail is underutilised as is handles only 14.5% of containers, while it is designed to carry 30% of container traffic.

# The MUA says that if the outer harbour was built now, 20-30 years before it is needed, it would add $ 10 billion to the construction cost, making it a $ 15-16 billion dollar dud, that would cause a dramatic increase to freight costs.

# Fremantle Port supports 2,000 direct employees and an estimated total workforce of 6,000 direct and indirect employees servicing the port.

# The outer harbour would be automated and would have less jobs than Fremantle Port.

# Government Treasury predicts another 25 years of growth potential for Fremantle Port. It stated that artificial capping would result in earlier capital investment in the Outer Harbour and related road and rail infrastructure-imposing an unnecessary financial burden on the WA Government, container trades and the community.

If you have any questions it is best to contact the MUA as I won’t have the answers.


Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: