Monday, May 14, 2012

Road Haulage Plans Inadequate for Shipping Container Terminal Say Residents

Doubling of TEU Throughput Will Cause Chaos
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – The rapid expansion of two of the country’s major container terminal facilities to accommodate an increase in general shipping traffic is meeting opposition from some quarters concerned by the associated increase in road haulage. The Port of Melbourne announced plans last month to enable the handling of double the current throughput of TEU’s to 5 million per annum by 2025.

Melbourne intends to spend A$1.2 billion constructing a new handling facility at Webb Dock and upgrading the existing infrastructure at Swanson Dock and has outlined in a document authorised by two Government Ministers a scheme which includes a dedicated truck corridor and allots A$10 million in funds to beautifying the area following the developments as the TEU totals rise from the record 2.5 million handled in 2010/11.

The announcement a week or so ago that Asciano was to expand its Sydney facilities to handle up to 2.5 million TEU’s per annum shows the amount of competition in the local market for all the bullish predictions of growth currently being bandied about but not everybody in the Melbourne area i s happy about their local port authorities attempts to remain the market leader, despite the prospects of many more jobs both permanent and during construction.

Melbourne residents are complaining that the port scheme will result in the necessity to move some freight ‘out of hours’ due to the increase in tonnages resulting in more local noise and emission pollution. The authorities say that new ramps built between the Webb development and the M1 motorway will remove heavy commercial traffic from local neighbourhoods, an area which opponents say already sees up to 20,000 truck movements every working day.

The Green Party and its supporters say that the scheme will still overload the M1 and additionally the Swanson development relies on motorway expansion plans that will not be completed, perhaps for decades, and unless the incumbent Government comes up with workable alternatives the result will be chaos.

Photo: Queens Wharf, now the site of the Immigration Museum in Melbourne where until the 1880’s lighters brought cargo transhipped from Hobson’s Bay. Courtesy of the Port of Melbourne.