Box terminal possible for Newcastle

By Margaret Bux
clock 2 min

Nicholas Whitlam, the Chairman of the new Port Authority of New South Wales “suspects” there will be a box terminal at Newcastle.

Mr Whitlam gave the keynote speech at a recent Shipping Australia event in Wollongong. When asked about his views on a Newcastle container terminal, he replied: “At some stage, I suspect that there will be a box terminal at Newcastle.”

However, he added, there are “major logistics issues” with the railway and geography between Sydney and Newcastle.

He pointed out that the Brisbane Water, a large estuary approximately 40km north of Sydney and about 70km south of Newcastle presents an obstacle, as does the general terrain and nature of the railway between Sydney and Newcastle.

Mr Whitlam then went on, in contrast, to expand upon benefits of the Maldon-Dombarton route in the Illawarra.

“Port Kembla has significant advantages too. The roads can be readily expanded. The Maldon-Dombarton railway can be readily expanded. The end at Maldon is on the main Sydney line, the other end is at a port. So intermodal facilities there are ideal.”

Sharon Grierson MP, Federal Member for Newcastle, wrote in her July-August 2012 “Overseas Study Travel Report” on “Port-Cities” that port construction and port operator company Grup TCB had concluded that Port Kembla did not have suitable infrastructure for a mixed terminal, including containers, whereas Newcastle does as it has access to major highways and a large airport.

In 2011 a report by consultants Hyder and ACIL Tasman for the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, found that the net present value of the Maldon-Dombarton line using a 7% real discount rate was “a negative $206m – that is, constructing a Maldon-Dombarton line would not generate sufficient benefits to cover its costs.”

Photo by Tim J Keegan


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