THE WESTERN Australian government has revealed the design and location of its planned new container port at Kwinana, which is set to replace the current container operations at Port of Fremantle.

The government said the preferred design and location were established following 18 months of detailed design consultation with key stakeholders. The outcome of the 2020 Westport Independent Taskforce Stage Two Report also informed the outcome.

The design of the new container terminal will allow bigger ships to call than can currently be accommodated at Fremantle Port.

The project is also slated to include redevelopment of the Kwinana Bulk Terminal jetty.

The government’s preferred design includes:

  • a container terminal adjacent to the shoreline of the current Kwinana Bulk Terminal;
  • a new breakwater to provide enhanced protection to the port and ships;
  • major upgrades to key freight roads leading to and from the new container terminal including Anketell Road, Kwinana Freeway and Roe Highway;
  • duplication of the freight rail between the container terminal and Cockburn; and
  • upgrades to key intermodal terminals (IMT) at Kenwick and Forrestfield, and the delivery of a new IMT at Kewdale – establishing a key logistics hub east of Perth where existing industrial land can support significant business activity.

Planning for the new container terminal at Kwinana has been ongoing for several years, as the current Port of Fremantle is forecast to hit capacity in the next two decades

The state said the location of the new container port at Kwinana would avoid impact on critical public infrastructure including Water Corp’s desalination plant and Synergy’s power plants.

Design concepts were assessed against a range of criteria including environmental, long-term sustainability, efficiency of the supply chain network and port, and financial value to the state and local economies.

Planning has also been informed by the state government-funded $13.5 million Western Australian Marine Science Institution Westport Marine Science Program, which has led a number of studies aimed at mitigating and offsetting the impacts of a new container port.

The government said planning and engagement with stakeholders on the appropriate location for non-container trade based at Fremantle Port is continuing.

The project business case, including the recommended development timings and costings, is expected to be finalised in mid next year.

While freight operations will move to the Kwinana location, Fremantle Port will retain its status as a working port for cruise, visiting naval and recreational vessels.

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook said the new infrastructure would set up the state for the long-term.

“A world class port in Kwinana is critical for our State to remain a global economic and industrial powerhouse for decades to come, supporting thousands of local WA jobs,” he said.

“Through this design, we can ensure WA can continue to meet trade demand long into the future – while strengthening our supply chain lines and improving road safety in the southern suburbs.

“Only our plan will futureproof WA’s container trade and economy for the next 100 years and transform communities in Kwinana and Fremantle.”

State minister for transport Rita Saffioti said the development of a new container terminal and supporting freight network would represent one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in WA.

“Over the past 18 months, the Westport team has undertaken detailed options analysis and engaged with dozens of key stakeholders and experts to develop this preferred design for the port and freight network,” she said.

“The modelling over a number of years has been consistent and shows Fremantle Port and its surrounding road network will become significantly constrained within the next two decades.

Ms Saffioti said having a port and freight network that can support the expected growth in Western Australia’s container trade is essential to the long-term health of the state’s economy.

“Any restrictions on our capacity to meet future demand for container trade would place a significant handbrake on our economy, push up the price of household goods, hurt local businesses and reduce our capacity to create jobs,” she said.

“We believe this preferred design addresses the core objectives of providing value and benefits to WA’s economy, society and environment. The preferred design will inform a Business Case which is currently in preparation and will outline detailed delivery timelines and costings.”

WA ports minister David Michael said having an efficient container port on the west coast is essential to maintaining our economic security and way of life.

“The proposed infrastructure is being planned to be ready when Fremantle meets capacity, ensuring we are making the most of our current port infrastructure, while efficiently and reliably preparing for the future,” he said.

“The Westport program recognises that the Kwinana Bulk Terminal in the Outer Harbour is also critical for economic growth in the Western Trade Coast. The relocation and upgrade of this terminal’s jetty is a critical enabler for Westport and is planned to be constructed ahead of the new container terminal.

“Westport and Fremantle Ports have invested in the early design work for a new Kwinana Bulk Terminal Jetty at the southern end of the proposed container terminal.”