The City of Fremantle has welcomed the release of the Westport Taskforce shortlist of Perth’s future port options, in which two of the top three options include retaining the Fremantle Inner Harbour as a working container port.
Last year the Fremantle Council reaffirmed its position that container handling should be maintained at North Quay, provided the associated land side transport arrangements have no greater impact on the local community than current port operations.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was encouraging an on-going role for Fremantle Port ranked highly in the taskforce’s analysis.
“Fremantle as a working port is central to our identity, and the employment and activity associated with the operations of the inner harbour are a critical component of the Fremantle region’s economy,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“We welcome the fact that two of the top three shortlisted options include an ongoing role for the inner harbour, which consistent with the council’s adopted position on the future of the port.
“We look forward to participating in the more detailed consideration of the shortlisted options as the next stage of the Westport process.”
The Westport Taskforce was established by the state government to provide guidance on the planning, development and growth of the inner harbour at Fremantle, the future outer harbour at Kwinana and opportunities to expand the Port of Bunbury.
Following a detailed multi-criteria analysis the Taskforce has shortlisted five options – three stand-alone Kwinana options and two shared Fremantle/Kwinana options.
The highest ranked option was a new stand-alone, conventional, land-backed port at Kwinana.
The second ranked option involved a shared Kwinana/Fremantle arrangement in which container traffic to a new Kwinana terminal would be mostly reliant on road access over rail, while Fremantle Port would require some additional road, rail and operational enhancements.
The third ranked option was similar to the second but incorporated the ‘Blue Highway’ concept of transporting containers from Fremantle to Kwinana on shallow draught barges.
The Blue Highway concept proposes containers being moved directly from the large container ships onto small barges using specially-designed loading equipment. The barges would then transport the containers directly down to the Kwinana port for off-loading onto trucks.
A benefit of the Blue Highway is that less dredging may be required due to the shallower depth of the barges.
The shortlist will now go through a second, even more rigorous multi-criteria analysis and a cost-benefit analysis to determine the strongest option.