THE setting was the Melbourne Convention Centre, but the topic was one very much focused north of the Murray.
The location of a future second New South Wales container terminal came up for discussion at the Global Shippers Forum, with NSW Ports’ chief executive Marika Calfas arguing strongly in favour of Port Kembla over Newcastle.
“Port Kembla is relatively close to the Sydney population market. It is also close to that west and south-west part of Sydney where population growth is also expected to occur,” Ms Calfas said.
She noted Port Kembla already serviced Sydney by way of vehicle imports while state governments had earmarked the Illawarra as the site of the next terminal for years.
Ms Calfas said the claims of Newcastle appeared to centre on land availability.
“So Port Botany and Port Kembla are servicing a trade need for New South Wales, as distinct to Port of Newcastle which has made the claim and therefore said, ‘we have vacant land, and we’re looking for a use, so let’s make it a container terminal’,” the CEO said.
“The fact that you have vacant land in and of itself isn’t a compelling reason for a government to change its priorities or its policies and neither do I think industry would support that.”
Port of Newcastle chairman Roy Green is known to be supportive of a container terminal in the Hunter, partially as a way of diversifying its freight task, while outgoing chief executive Geoff Crowe also has publicly backed the case.
The conference concludes today.