Freo's View

FIVE WEEKS FOR WESTPORT TASKFORCE SHORT LIST

 

 

One can only agree with one of the public comments made that the Westport Taskforce is doing a fantastic job at community consultation and information and a very thorough job overall.

Another meeting was held this morning in the Fremantle Townhall and around 70 members of the community attended to listen to Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt and the Chair of Westport Nicole Lockwood.

The Mayor said that Fremantle Council had been pretty frustrated about the Perth Freight Link proposal and were very pleased that it had been abandoned.

Council believes that a working port is critical for Fremantle’s economic future and a survey showed that a massive70% of participants agreed with that. It was however important that a growing port would not have a greater negative impact on the community.

How can we be smart and have container freight on road not mainly during business hours, the Mayor asked. We need a dedicated freight rail line that does not conflict with the passenger trains.

Nicole Lockwood explained that the focus of the Westport Taskforce was on Fremantle, Bunbury and Kwinana and this has created many options which needed to be considered. It was about how to accommodate freight for the next fifty years and how we can get more out of the current network.

Social values and the environment are priorities, but we needed to be clear that the current infrastructure will not meet future needs. All options considered needed to be able to handle the long-term container trade projections, and must use the existing supply chain corridors.

The capacity of Fremantle Port is only at 37% Lockwood said, but the rail lines are very near capacity.

Westport is building an interactive digital spatial tool to create real-time modelling.

An small increase in growth of containers will have huge cumulative impacts over time.

Nicole Lockwood is very impressive. She is well across all the details and did not need notes to point out the pros and cons. She said the taskforce was about five weeks away from shortlisting the best options.

With so many container trucks arriving or leaving Fremantle Port empty I wonder if a system could be created where freight operators could swap trips so that a policy of no pick up without drop off and vice versa could be implemented. That would take a substantial number of trucks off our roads.

Very informative session that ended in a Q&A where most public speakers went over old ground complaining about train noise and vibration and traffic issues in North Fremantle. Short-term solutions for these issues are clearly not on the cards.

Roel Loopers

 

Comments Off on FIVE WEEKS FOR WESTPORT TASKFORCE SHORT LIST

FREMANTLE TO GET NEW TRAFFIC BRIDGE

Posted in city of fremantle, freight, fremantle ports, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 22, 2019

 

The WA State Government today announced they will be spending $ 230 million on replacing the ailing Fremantle Traffic Bridge. Work is planned to start within three years.

This comes timely after Westport Taskforce chair Nicole Lockwood recently stated that it looks like the best location for a new port will be at Kwinana, once Fremantle Ports reaches capacity, and that is still 15-20 years away according to experts.

There has been a strong reduction in freight on road and an increase of freight on rail since the latter was subsidised by the State Government, but there are still many days where the port is near empty.

Nicole Lockwood said that environmental concerns for a Kwinana Port could be dealt with by modern construction of a wharf on pylons, rather than a full concrete development that would do more damage to Cockburn Sound.

Roel Loopers

 

Comments Off on FREMANTLE TO GET NEW TRAFFIC BRIDGE

NEWSLETTER ABOUT WA PORTS PROCESS

 

port

 

The WESTPORT TASKFORCE has published its first newsletter, the BEACON. The Beacon will provide information about the community and expert consultation process which is going on about Western Australian ports.

It is addressing Fremantle Port issues about freight, access issues, traffic problems, a new or overflow port in Cockburn Sound, moving some of the Fremantle operations to other ports, etc.

The Beacon is online here: https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/ehq-production-australia/80f0fdd7480e83887141a686019c37d72dd31183/documents/attachments/000/101/243/original/Westport_Beacon_1_Introducing_the_Beacon_Mar_19.pdf?1553062243

 

Roel Loopers

 

Henty ad

Comments Off on NEWSLETTER ABOUT WA PORTS PROCESS

FREMANTLE MAYOR WANTS FREO PORT TO STAY

 

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

NO SPIN PLEASE IN WESTPORT PROCESS

Posted in city of fremantle, environment, fremantle ports, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 17, 2018

 

It is often difficult to see the facts through the haze of spin when important community, environmental and political issues are raised, as is the case with the strong lobbying for an alternative port at Kwinana by some community and political groups and by the Town of Kwinana council.

There were strong opinions for and against Roe 8, but it seems that now has been abandoned forever with the road reserve being canceled by the WA Labor government recently.

But when one reads Paul Murray’s column in the weekend West Australian a port at Kwinana would have the most negative and biggest environmental and social issues of Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury, with Fremantle Port having the lowest impact assessment.

It seems strange that there has been political interference by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti who, according to Murray’s article, edited the report released by the Westport Taskforce last week. If that is true that should worry us all, as the environmental assessment published by the MUA is no longer part of the report.

It is very clear that the traffic bottleneck in North Fremantle  will hamper any substantial growth of Fremantle Port, so what will the State Government do about that?

The Maritime Union of Australia is strongly opposed to a Kwinana Port, because it would see a loss of jobs, and they say that Fremantle Port could double its container intake and could operate for another 20 years, but at what cost to the traffic flow in effected suburbs?

The Westport Taskforce started with a big bang and the assurance that everyone would be consulted and that it would be a transparent process, so it is essential for the State Government not to interfere with the process and not “edit” any of the findings by the supposedly independent taskforce.

Roel Loopers

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

Comments Off on THE FUTURE OF FREMANTLE PORT FORUM TONIGHT

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

%d bloggers like this: