Bunbury not in container shipping plan

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Port has been left off the Westport Taskforce short list.
Camera IconBunbury Port has been left off the Westport Taskforce short list. Credit: Supplied / Southern Ports

Bunbury Port has been ruled out as a preferred option for the State’s shipping container imports and exports needs.

The Westport Taskforce last week released its short list of five different port and supply chain options to manage Perth’s growing container freight needs for the next 50 years and beyond.

While all five options confirm the need for a new container port to be built in Kwinana, Bunbury Port did not feature in any of the short-listed options.

Building a new stand-alone port directly north of the Kwinana Bulk Terminal was ranked as the top option with Bunbury not making the cut based on the capital cost of duplicating the South West main rail line and the costs of transporting containers to Perth.

Westport independent chairwoman Nicole Lockwood said it was essentially the high costs that made Bunbury unviable.

“The costs of removing the basalt in Koombana Bay, cost impact per container, the higher operational costs and the costs of expanding the port itself were considerable,” Ms Lockwood said.

“... the limited number of containers that originate from Bunbury was also a large factor.”

While Bunbury missed out, Ms Lockwood said there were opportunities to improve the freight supply chain and grow local industries.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said the Westport process had “unfolded exactly as I expected” and resulted in positive recommendations for the port.

Prior to the the 2017 State election, Mr Punch outlined in his “Plan for Bunbury” a desire to develop the role the port could play in the State’s freight task.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch prior to the 2017 election.
Camera IconBunbury MLA Don Punch prior to the 2017 election. Credit: South Western Times

“The intent of Westport was to ensure there was exposure for the capacity of Bunbury Port, its logistics capabilities and its contractors, and this outcome has been achieved,” Mr Punch said.

“Bunbury Port is a successful port that continues to grow its incoming and outgoing tonnage and to attract the investment and support of Government.

“It is now firmly on the radar with industry for niche container services, roll on roll off, and other specialist cargoes.”

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