Freo's View

PORT DEBATE SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL FOOTBALL

 

Roe 8

 

It is a shame that the future of Fremantle Port has become a political football with self interest groups battling it out.

There is another attack by the pro Liberal West Australian on Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt today and the Libs have also paid for a wrap around of the Fremantle Herald to tell us all how fantastic Roe 8 would be.

Let’s just pause and be clear about some of the issues here. First of all the Liberal party lost the last state election by a landslide and the Labor party had promised not to build Roe 8. Second is that the Perth Freight Link the Barnett government wanted never made it over the Swan River or dealt with the bottleneck in North Fremantle. It stopped at Stirling Highway and hence was not offering the solutions needed.

Traffic on Leach Highway is mainly general private traffic and not trucks to and from Fremantle Port, and truck movements to the port have decreased significantly the last year or so.

The Town of Kwinana and the Western Harbour Alliance are only promoting a new port at Kwinana for obvious reasons, while Fremantle wants the cake and eat it too by wanting to keep a working port but also developing Victoria Quay while reducing the traffic issues at North Fremantle and not inconveniencing residents along the railway line with more frequent container trains. They can’t have it all!

The MUA is only worried about wharfies losing jobs if a Kwinana Port is built because automisation at a new port would mean fewer jobs for MUA members.

Truck companies whinge about Leach Highway traffic because a new Kwinana Port would be mainly road based freight, according to the recent Westport Taskforce report, so that means more work and money for the road transport industry.

Those who fought for the Beeliar Wetlands seem a lot less concerned about the environmental impact on Cockburn Sound, and in general no one really talks about the impact massively increased freight traffic would bring to the Kwinana region and the residents there.

The political decision about Roe 8 has been made and the voters agreed with it, so the silly push by the Liberal party and West media is ignoring democracy. At the same time the City of Fremantle needs to start being pro-active about where to go when-it’s not if-Freo will lose its working port. It might still be 10-15 years away but it will happen, no matter how much the Mayor talks up the potential for Fremantle Port to handle a lot more containers.

In my opinion Fremantle will be a lot less attractive once it loses the vitality of the working port, but level headed discussions are needed and we need to be pragmatic and realistic about the options and opportunities. Making it all into a political football is silly, immature and unprofessional.

Roel Loopers

IS WESTPORT SHORTLIST PREMATURE?

 

It is predictable that Garreth Parker in today’s column in the pro Liberal Sunday Times claims that the Westport Taskforce is flawed because it did not consider Roe8/9 as a potential solution, but that is for two reasons. There is no potential Roe 8/9 offered that had a solution for the North Fremantle traffic congestions, as the Barnett government experts could not find a way of connecting the last part of the highway extension into the port, and the second reason is that the McGowan government was elected with a landslide on the promise not to build Roe 8/9.

While I believe the Westport Taskforce process has been very good I am surprised they announced the preferred shortlist of options before environmental assessments have been made about the impact a potential new port in Kwinana might have on Cockburn Sound and what impact the mainly land-based transport options would have on local communities away from Leach Highway and North Fremantle.

What if the EPA and other agencies rule that marine life would be far too much threatened in Cockburn Sound and that a new port is not acceptable? Do we start from scratch again and repeat the whole expensive progress without a new Kwinana port as an option?

Public information and transparency are very important, but maybe it was just premature to announce a shortlist of options with a new Kwinana port as the first option before we understand the impact it might have on the very important Cockburn Sound.

Roel Loopers

LET WESTPORT TASKFORCE FINISH THEIR JOB!

 

It is disappointing that the in my opinion very thorough Westport Taskforce is now being criticised by the WA Liberal opposition and their PR agency the West Australian.

For two years the taskforce has dealt with all the stakeholders and conducted excellent community consultation but now they are being criticised for not having considered the Perth Freight Link.

Might it be the PFL was not considered because it fails to offer a solution on how to get freight faster and better to Fremantle Port because the PFL stopped at the Fremantle traffic bridge without any improvements to the North Fremantle bottleneck?

The Westport Taskforce preferred option is for the container port to be shifted to a new port at Kwinana and I believe that is most likely what the State Goivernment will decide on if all environmental approvals can be obtained that show that the impact on Cockburn Sound can be managed. It is unlikely the stevedores will support double handling of moving containers from Fremantle to Kwinana on barges as that would add costs and time.

For the City of Fremantle it is important to start planning what to do if we lose the great cranes and containers and most of the wharfies and port related office workers in town. Fremantle Port is so much part of Fremantle’s unique character and if we lose it we are in serious trouble as cruiseliners only come for a few months during the summer period.

While development at Victoria Quay would link the port better to the Fremantle CBD, a port without cranes and ships becomes just the river mouth of the Swan River.

The Westport Taskforce is still investigating and not finished yet and will now have to research if the Kwinana option is environmentally safe, so why not let them do their work without interfering and political finger pointing.

Roel Loopers

 

CONTINUING FREMANTLE PORT ONLY SECOND OPTION FOR WESTPORT TASKFORCE

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 15, 2019

 

The WESTPORT TASKFORCE has released its shortlist for future port operations and the preferred one is # 1- is the option 23 on the long list that would see a stand-alone land-backed port handling all container freight at Kwinana. The new port would extend from the Kwinana Bulk Jetty to the Alcoa jetty.

Option #2 is the long list Fremantle option 2 plus Kwinana option 24 for a shared port with a new one at Kwinana and Fremantle Port remaining as it is with some road, rail and operational enhancements.

Option # 3 would be as option # 2 but with a so called Blue Highway of shallow barges transporting containers from Fremantle to Kwinana.

From the Westport Taskforce:

While all of the assessment criteria were deemed to be of high importance, the assigned weightings are further explained below:

1. Capital expenditure and land acquisition costs, as a combined criterion, was weighted highest (18.2 per cent) as affordability was considered the most important criterion for the State. It is critical that Westport delivers an outcome that is fnancially responsible for the State.

2. Similarly, operations and maintenance costs received the second highest weighting of 16.4 per cent, as the fnal option must be commercially viable and affordable for the long-term.

3. Land use compatibility was weighted third at 14.5 per cent, as the impacts of expanded road and rail corridors, increased freight movement and/or a new port would be signifcant on nearby residences.

4. Marine environmental impacts were weighted highly at 12.7 per cent as a result of strong community support for this criterion.

5. Terrestrial environmental impacts were also weighted highly at 9.1 per cent, again in acknowledgment of the importance of this value to the community.

6. Net amenity impacts – such as impacts on recreation, visual amenity and beach use – were weighted equally at 9.1 per cent, based on strong community feedback around these issues.

7. The ability to expand the infrastructure (scalability) in the long-term if required and operational effciency was similarly weighted at 9.1 per cent.

8. Other determining factors were deemed to be heritage impacts (5.5 per cent), port and transport corridor access (3.7 per cent) and land availability and complexity of acquisitions (1.8 per cent)

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE’S TWO HARBOURS

 

Port

FBH

 

There is a lot of activity going on in the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour with ships being repaired and maintained until the season up north starts again.

At Fremantle Port two huge RoRo vessels are delivering hundreds of vehicles so that is always an impressive sight as well.

Roel Loopers

VISIT FREMANTLE’S SUBMARINE

Posted in city of fremantle, maritime, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2019

 

submarine

 

Not much news in Fremantle so I went for a leisurely walk on this beautiful morning and noticed the group of visitors on the submarine at the Maritime Museum.

If you have not visited the Owen sub or Maritime Museum put it on your bucket list. Free entry on Tuesdays.

Did you know that Fremantle was the biggest submarine port in the southern hemisphere during WWII?

Roel Loopers

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HUGE MSC ELMA ARRIVES AT FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 20, 2019

 

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One of the largest container vessels ever to arrive in Fremantle Port entered the harbour just before 5pm on Saturday afternoon. The 300-metre-long and 50-metre-wide MSC ELMA can carry nearly 9,600 containers.

She was escorted into port by three tug boats.

Roel Loopers

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SHIPWRECKS NOT FORGOTTEN BY FOGOTTEN

Posted in art, city of fremantle, culture, fremantle festival, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2019

 

DSC_4899

 

FOGOTTEN by Genrefonix was on for the last few nights as part of the Fremantle Festival so I went to the Shipwrecks Museum on Tuesday evening to take some photos.

Kids love the fog and come to play in it without realising this is about the great sea storm of 1899 when the Carlisle Castle and the City of York ships sank in the devastating storm.

Check out the Fogotten Facebook page for more performances which include projections and music.

Roel Loopers

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MAERSK SKARSTIND IN FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, freight, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2019

 

Skarstind

Skarstind 2

 

I was going to capture the departure of the huge 300-metre-long Maersk Skarstind from Fremantle Port this afternoon but the scheduled 4.30pm departure has been pushed back to 11pm tonight and that is bed time for old Loopy.

But I took these photos of the massive container vessel from the train when I returned from Perth at 1.30pm. The quality is not great as it was taken through the train window.

Roel Loopers

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HUGE CONTAINER SHIPS ARRIVE AT FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, containers, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on July 15, 2019

 

Skarstind

 

One of the biggest container ships ever to arrive in Fremantle Port will arrive this evening at 8pm.

The Maersk Skarstind is 300 metres long and can carry more than 9,400 containers.

The Skarstind is due to depart tomorrow at 4.30pm so take the kids to the South or North mole and have a look!

Another huge container vessel, the MSC Elma will arrive in Fremantle on July 20.

Roel Loopers

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