Freo's View

WESTPORT TASKFORCE FIRST PROGRESS REPORT IS OUT

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

ROE 8 HIGHWAY ROAD RESERVE TO BE REZONED

 

PFL

 

The WA State Government will today introduce legislation in Parliament to scrap the  Perth Freight Link/Roe 8 highway extension road reserve, and rezone 86 hectares of the Beeliar Wetlands into parks and recreation in the Metropolitan Region Scheme.

It will be a challenge to get it through the Legislative Council though and might need cross benchers to achieve the goal.

While I welcome the protection of the Beeliar Wetlands I wonder if this move is not premature with the Westport Taskforce handing its first report to the Minister soon, which will state that there are no ‘fatal flaws’ for the expansion of Fremantle Port, Kwinana and Bunbury Port, so road connectivity will have to be part of the considerations to either expand Fremantle Port, or move part of the port operations to Kwinana and/or Bunbury.

Roel Loopers

 

THE FUTURE OF FREMANTLE PORT FORUM TONIGHT

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

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NEW SPANISH PORT FACILITIES GOOD FOR FREO

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle port, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on February 25, 2018

 

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia is considering spending millions of dollars on building new port facilities south of Fremantle at Henderson.

The new port would service big LNG tankers and navy vessels, but it would need to make substantial expansion to the dry dock facilities.

At present the multinational oil and gas  giants mostly send their LNG tankers to Singapore for maintenance, but Navantia believes they could do that closer to the oil and gas fields on the WA west coast.

It would be nice to create more employment close to Fremantle as that might trigger residential relocation of workers to our port city.

Interesting to note a protest leaflet by the Maritime Union of Australia against the push for a new outer harbour at Kwinana by Kwinana Mayor Carol Adam. The MUA claims it would cost 6,000 jobs and that Fremantle Port believes a new port is not needed until 2035-2040.

It is very busy in Freo Port today with two cruiseliners I had not seen before; the Europa and the Seven Seas Navigator are at berth at Victoria Quay and three container ships and one RoRo vessel at North Quay.

Roel Loopers

A NEW PORT OR A PIPE DREAM?

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2017

 

The outer harbour forum at Fremantle Victoria Hall was an interesting event and the hall was packed full, so there is clearly strong community interest in finding solutions for a better way on how WA deals with freight and port related transport and issues.

I was impressed with the presentation of Nicole Lockwood, the independent chair of the newly created WESTPORT.

She said the Kwinana outer harbour and issues related with it would be one of the longest planning exercises in WA, as the outcome would be looking after the State’s freight for the next 50-100 years.

The reference group was very broad and inclusive and relied on participation, input and ideas from all levels of the industries, government departments and community.

It is about planning a modern port, land and transport plans, assessing commercial aspects, identifying industrial opportunities, and maximising compatibility.

There is huge land access at Kwinana and Bunbury that can be utilised.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was good to have a rational conversation on how to transition part of the port activity to Kwinana as there is an opportunity to rethink the south side of the harbour.

There needs to be a better port to city connection and either upgrade the passenger terminal or build a new one further west with better access to the city.

Pettitt said Fremantle Council wanted to keep Fremantle as a working port as long as possible.

Infrastructure advisor Cameron Edwards said WA needed to offer a competitive international product and that a new outer harbour would create significant value to pay off the State’s debt.

Fremantle Port was a ‘stranded asset’ and the rail link under-utilised. Kwinana would be able to handle much longer trains than Fremantle, where the maximum length is only 690 metres.

The creation of a large industrial park and special economic trading zone at Kwinana would stimulate the WA economy. Kwinana is where the money is and that has significant advantage, Edwards said.

Fremantle deserves world-class facilities and there are great examples around the world how well we can rejuvenate old ports.

A new port would create 18,000 new jobs while the status quo would not create any new jobs.

Professor Phil Jennings spoke at length about serious environmental problems in Cockburn Sound in the past and that there are still areas where seagrass is dying and the pollution is bad, but with proper conditions and management in place the outer harbour could be acceptable.

Professor Peter Newman said we should create Lithium Valley at Kwinana as we have already eight lithium mines in WA and it is a growth industry. We should not just be exporting our lithium though but build the batteries here in WA.

Nicole Lockwood said it was going to be a huge jigsaw puzzle and a dynamic exercise to understand the constraints and opportunities of a new outer harbour.

I walked away wondering how realistic all this is, as we just had Fremantle Port wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars planning for the sale of the port, now the new Labor government is changing that all around with absolutely no guarantee that a future Liberal government will not scrap the plans again.

The reality will be that the construction of an outer harbour will not start in the next ten years because Fremantle Port is not anywhere near capacity and WA is broke. The ‘overflow port’ won’t really be needed for another 15-20 years. 

Building lithium batteries in WA is highly unrealistic because labour costs here are far too high to be internationally competitive.

And keeping a working port at North Quay while developing Victoria Quay is unfortunately also unrealistic because of the buffer zones at the port and safety and security issues. That means there can’t be residential or hotel development, so all that could be done is commercial activity of retail and offices.

While strategic long-term planning for our state is important it is essential to be extremely realistic about what can be achieved and what will remain just another pipedream.

 

Roel Loopers

KWINANA PORT FORUM ON TODAY

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, Uncategorized by freoview on November 20, 2017

 

There is a forum on the planning of a Kwinana Port TODAY, November 20 at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. It is on from 7pm-9.30pm.

The Kwinana Outer Harbour has been in the pipeline for over twenty years and was the solution to freight hitting Fremantle long before the Perth Freight Link was dreamed up. The new Westport Task Force was recently formed by the State Government to finally make it a reality.

Nicole Lockwood, Chair of Westport will talk of her plans,  and Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt will speak on the opportunities this opens up for Fremantle.

Infrastructure adviser Cameron Edwards will speak on why a Kwinana port will lead to jobs growth and massive economic potential for WA, Professor Philip Jennings on the environmental considerations, and Professor Peter Newman on transport planning and why this all makes sense.

A Q&A will follow presentations.

The Western Harbours Alliance purpose is to help establish new partnerships between community, government and business to create the opportunities and overcome the barriers to building a new 21st century port in the Perth Metropolitan Region, bringing great economic, employment and social benefits for the people of Western Australia. WHA is a member of the Westport Reference Group.

http://www.westernharboursalliance.com

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THE PLANNING OF KWINANA PORT FORUM

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, perth freight link, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2017

 

PFL protest

 

There is a forum on the planning of a Kwinana Port this coming Monday, November 20 at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. It is on from 7pm-9.30 pm.

The Kwinana Outer Harbour has been in the pipeline for over twenty years and was the solution to freight hitting Fremantle long before the Perth Freight Link was dreamed up. The new Westport Task Force was recently formed by the State Government to finally make it a reality. 

Nicole Lockwood, Chair of Westport will talk of her plans,  and Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt will speak on the opportunities this opens up for Fremantle.

Infrastructure adviser Cameron Edwards will speak on why a Kwinana port will lead to jobs growth and massive economic potential for WA, Professor Philip Jennings on the environmental considerations, and Professor Peter Newman on transport planning and why this all makes sense.

A Q&A will follow presentations.

The Western Harbours Alliance purpose is to help establish new partnerships between community, government and business to create the opportunities and overcome the barriers to building a new 21st century port in the Perth Metropolitan Region, bringing great economic, employment and social benefits for the people of Western Australia. WHA is a member of the Westport Reference Group.

http://www.westernharboursalliance.com

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UNION NOT HAPPY WITH KWINANA PORT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle ports, maritime, Uncategorized by freoview on August 24, 2017

 

Very interesting to read that the WA Labor State Government is clashing with the Maritime Union of Australia because of their commitment to build an outer harbour at Kwinana.

The MUA wants the WA government to delay the building of the new port, which experts say would take at least ten years to realise, because they fear the closure or part closure of Fremantle Ports would create job losses for port workers.

When one looks at the automation of other ports around the world it is highly likely that a new Kwinana port would also heavily rely on automation and would need fewer workers to do the wharf jobs.

The scrapping of the Roe 8 highway and the desire by the City of Fremantle to develop the south quay of the port means a new harbour is probably on the cards in the not too distant future.

But unions do have a huge influence in the Labor party, so nothing is certain until they have sorted out their differences.

 

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE LIGHTRAIL NOT A PIPE DREAM

Posted in city of fremantle, lightrail, transport, Uncategorized by freoview on June 25, 2017

 

How nice to hear local councils in the Fremantle area working together for a change, instead of viewing each other as competition.

They could not agree on local government reform, council amalgamations and the Roe 8 highway, but now the South West Group of Cockburn, Fremantle, Melville, Kwinana, East Fremantle and Rockingham are planning ahead together for light rail, according to a report in today’s Sunday Times.

A Fremantle to Murdoch lightrail corridor is a high priority according to the report, but also a loop with Rockingham and the coast.

There is no doubt in my opinion that lightrail from Fremantle to Rockingham would be used extensively by locals and tourists alike and connect the two cities.

The South West Group report also considers lightrail from Fremantle to Canning Bridge and linking Cockburn and Fremantle.

Long-term planning by local councils for lightrail and traffic corridors is essential to pin point where new residential and commercial development should be encouraged so that planing schemes can be introduced to accommodate that.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the Sunday Times that local councils had a role to play in planning transit systems as they would need to rezone areas for transport hubs.

Lightrail has been on Fremantle’s wish list for a long time but low residential figures make it difficult to build a sound business case for it. However the development boom in Fremantle and Cockburn and along to coast to Rockingham is starting to make lightrail a very good option for the not too distant future, and we need to plan for that now.

Roel Loopers

 

CLIMATE CHANGE DANGER TO FREO’s HERITAGE AND COFFEE

Posted in city of fremantle, climate change, environment, global warming, western australia by freoview on August 30, 2016

A report on Channel Nine TV last night by Jane Grljusich painted a wet future for the west end of Fremantle where rising sea levels due to global warming will see many coastal properties disappear in the Indian Ocean unless seawalls are being built.

Grljusich talked about flooded cellars in the west of Fremantle that already require 24/7 pumping by the building owners.

The predicted higher ocean levels would see the Roundhouse become an island and even flooding of the Esplanade, so the state and federal governments need to become pro-active in making plans on how to protect Fremantle’s coast line and significant heritage area.

There is a Cockburn Sound Coastal Alliance where the cities of Fremantle, Cockburn, Kwinana and Rockingham work together and Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the TV reporter a plan will be released in a few weeks.

I have wondered for a long time why governments still allow so much development very close to the coast, as at Coogee for example, and wonder if insurance companies are still willing to insure properties in locations where rising seawater levels will create flooding and damage.

Are people naive or just don’t care that their expensive houses might get flooded or destroyed in 15-20 years from now, and what responsibility do governments have when releasing coastal land for development?

And to add insult too injury and make life even worse for us is a report from Brazil that climate change will cut coffee production by 50%, which no doubt will mean much higher prices for coffee in caffeine-mad Freo in the future.

Roel Loopers

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