AN INCREASE in wharfage fees for full import and export containers is to be implemented to help bankroll a significant on-dock rail capacity expansion at Port Botany.

From 1 July 2019, a $3.08 increase per TEU is to apply in order to cover the cost of the $120m project. The project is expected to result in an increase in capacity at each of the three Port Botany container terminals.

According to a joint statement from NSW Ports and Patrick, the charge has been spread over the long term to minimise the wharfage increase and is to be removed once the investment cost has been recovered.

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NSW Ports chief executive Marika Calfas said the growth of containers on rail was a key objective in NSW Ports’ Masterplan.

“Over the next four years, NSW Ports will invest $120 million on Stage 1 of this uplift to create new on-dock rail capacity at Patrick’s Port Botany Terminal,” Ms Calfas said.

“The new rail terminal will ultimately deliver 1m TEU capacity. In time NSW Ports will invest at the other two container terminals.”

Patrick chief executive Michael Jovicic said optimising rail was important.

“NSW Ports’ investment in rail infrastructure will be accompanied by Patrick’s $70m investment in operating equipment and systems to deliver 1m TEU capacity,” Mr Jovicic said.

“Our agreement with NSW Ports will significantly increase our terminal’s rail capacity and enhance productivity and efficiency in container movements at the port”. 

Work on the rail expansion is set to begin next year with a completion date in 2023. Rail operations at Patrick are expected to continue during construction.

Industry body the Australian Logistics Council also welcomed the investment in rail.

“Moving more freight via rail will be essential if Australia is to successfully meet its growing freight task and address road congestion around key port freight facilities,” said ALC interim chief executive Lachlan Benson.

“The cost savings and efficiencies that will be unlocked by greater on-dock rail capacity will flow right through the supply chain, benefiting both producers and consumers.”

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