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Port of Newcastle (PON) has shown off some early fruits of its diversification efforts with the unloading directly to rail of imported passenger rail rolling stock – one with implications for the proposed $1.8 billion Newcastle Container Terminal (NCT) and thereby landside container haulage in the region..
PON points to it being the nation’s only deepwater port with direct rail interface as an argument for the lifting of a NSW government container numbers penalty on the NCT, which is the centrepiece of PON’s Multi-purpose Deepwater Terminal (MDT) project.
This penalty, which the NSW government relied on to get the top price for its port privatisation, is currently the focus of sometimes secret Federal Court proceedings begun by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
"The Mayfield site has the capacity for a 2 million TEU per annum container terminal, coupled with a shipping channel that can accommodate vessels up to 10,000 TEU, with the capability of even larger vessels with some ancillary channel modifications," PON says.
PON argues that the trend to international container shipping lines running bigger ships with a capacity of around 10,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit of shipping containers) – many still run at half that capacity – means deepwater ports will be needed increasingly and that Newcastle’s rail links to the national network will have an efficiency dividend for exporters and importers.
NSW Ports welcomed in June the 10,662 TEU capacity containership Ural and has handled two 9,500 TEU ships early last year with the expectation of more.
PON highlights a Deloitte Access Economics report last year that found the port’s catchment area presently generates 500,000 full TEU annually, many of which will also be trucked to and from the port.
The report states that 27 per cent of the state’s import TEU at 364,600, and 43 per cent of export TEU, at 210,747 relate to this catchment for a total of 575,346.
Port Botany throughput is 1,072,892.
PON was unable to give more detail to the figures but CEO Craig Carmody told state parliament’s Public Works Committee 18 months ago that the division between trucked and railed containers NCT might handle would be 50-50.
So, though not all catchment containers would necessarily go through NCT, it is conceivable that around 200,000 a year will need trucks to take them to and from the terminal, if PON gets all it hope to.
This article first appeared on www.fullyloaded.com.au
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