Wednesday 21st Nov, 2018

Breakbulk the focus of Newcastle cargo storage scheme

BREAKBULK trades would be the focus of a planned development at the old BHP steelworks site at Mayfield, Newcastle.

Plans for the facility on a 12-hectare section of the 90-hectare site are currently on public display, allowing for feedback by the end of January.

A report on the concept was prepared by AECOM Australia Pty Ltd on behalf of Port of Newcastle and in its statement of environmental effects they discuss the idea of an “open air cargo storage facility”.

“Port of Newcastle has identified trade opportunities for the import of various types of cargos which are not suitable for import through traditional means, such as bulk handling or in containers,” AECOM stated.

“These cargos are typically large cargos requiring expansive handling areas due to their size.

“The proposed cargo storage area would be used for these large cargos on an as-needs basis by PON customers.”

According to the report, the availability of land adjacent to deep-water berths with access to a navigable channel, has allowed the Port to become a break-bulk cargo destination requiring significant landside space and ready access to state and national transport routes.

“For delivery of such cargos into New South Wales, the Port provides advantages over alternative ports in NSW such as Port Botany which is space restricted and requires transport of such cargos through congested areas of the Sydney Metropolitan Area,” the report stated.

“PON has therefore seen an increase in interest from parties looking to deliver project cargos in NSW.”

Possible cargoes would include wind turbine segments, industrial and mining components, luxury boats and farm and construction machinery among other goods.

But the scheme has failed to assuage the anger of those who believe a Newcastle must have its own container terminal, which would benefit not only the Hunter and north coast regions but also help decongest Sydney.

It was revealed last year that the privatisation terms for the Ports of Botany and Kembla protected them from competition from a future container terminal in the Hunter for 99 years.

Freight analyst and contributor to Lloyd’s List Australia, Greg Cameron, a former BHP strategist was quick to slam the latest plans.

“Twenty years ago, BHP proposed developing a container terminal on its former Newcastle Steelworks land as the best economic use of this deep-water port site after steelmaking finished in 1999,” he said.

“Now, 12 hectares is being developed for a storage yard. It’s a national disgrace.”

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