Academics urge rethink on Hastings plan

By Margaret Bux
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Two leading supply chain academics have called for reconsideration of the Victorian Government’s commitment to the Port of Hastings as the container trade successor to Melbourne.

In a paper entitled “Build it – but will they come?” Dr Hermione Parsons and Peter Van Duyn of Victoria University’s Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics call for alternative integrated planning in the event that the Port of Hastings project should fail.

They cite possible reasons for failure as firstly that theassumed drive for “mega” container ships in Australian trades, requiring Hastings’ planned 16-metre draft, does not eventuate and, secondly, that those adversely affected by or opposed to the development of the port and its landside links succeed in blocking the proposal.

“Politically-sensitive social and environmental issues could lead the government of the day to re-evaluate the political costs of the proposed port and associated infrastructure, and decide instead to concentrate on metropolitan and regional commuter transport priorities and other more pressing constituency issues,” the authors say.

Contingency thinking should include developing a plan for an alternative port location to the west of the Port of Melbourne in Port Phillip Bay to optimise the use of the $717m channel deepening investment and the anticipated $1.6bn Port Capacity Project investment; monitoring container trade growth and megaship utilisation rates against what could be over-optimistic forecasts; and determining expected container vessel dimensions for Melbourne for the next 50 years in view of forecast changes in global market conditions, they say.


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