WA endorses plan for new container port at Kwinana fed by rail

The Western Australia government has endorsed the creation of a new container port at Kwinana to relieve pressure on Fremantle Inner Harbour.

With the state’s freight task expected to overwhelm capacity at Fremantle by the mid-2030s, the independent Westport Taskforce recommended a new container terminal at Kwinana, supported by rail links and intermodal terminals.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the decision was about preparing the state for the future.

“It is imperative that we plan for Perth’s long-term future, beyond the capacity limits of Fremantle Port and its road and rail links,” he said.

“Fremantle Port has served our State for the last one hundred years, it’s now time to plan and build the next big piece of economic infrastructure that sets our State up for the next century.”

Moving container freight to Kwinana by 2032 would reduce pressure on inner city roads and allow for further capacity. A decision on whether to transition from Fremantle to Kwinana in one step or over a phased period is yet to be made.

The report found that the current freight rail corridor would need to be expanded for Fremantle to handle larger volumes of freight, and that works to do so, including duplicating the line, would cost an estimated $1.4 billion. A new port at Kwinana would potentially remove the need for a freight line running through Fremantle, the report noted.

An alternative option of increasing the size of the port at Bunbury was also held back by the cost of duplicating the South West main rail line.

For the two preferred options, a series of upgrades will need to be made. These include duplicating the rail line close to the Forrestfield Intermodal Terminal, the single track from Cockburn to Kwinana, and the connection between the Kwinana Triangle and the Kwinana marshalling yard. In addition, a new railway from the Anketell Triangle to the port itself would need to be constructed.

The WA government will now spend $97.2 million to progress the options for the future port, including developed a detailed design for rail connections to the port.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that the state was already supporting getting more freight onto rail.

“We have reached our target of 20 per cent of freight onto rail, a record number, that translates to 110,000 trucks off our roads each year.”

CBH moves bumper crop by rail

Grain storage, handling, transport, marketing, and processing cooperative, CBH Group has announced that their rail infrastructure moved the largest amount of grain in the company’s history.

8.9 million tonnes of grain was moved by rail to port terminals in the 12 months to September 2019. These figures included six million tonnes of grain from the Kwinana Zone to the Kwinana Grain Terminal for bulk export.

These figures were the result of a record harvest of 16.4m tonnes, 13.8m tonnes of which was shipped from CBH Group’s four grain terminals. 6.2m tonnes were shipped from the Kwinana Grain Terminal.

While these figures were record breaking, global grain market forces left the group with a net loss after tax of $29.7 million and a deficit of $13.3 million.

During the year, CBH invested $285.3m in its network. These funds went towards an expansion of storage capacity, improving supply chain efficiency, and infrastructure maintenance.

CBH Group owns 574 wagons, 26 locomotives, and 12 trains, and in the 2019 year leased two additional locomotives and 131 standard and narrow gauge wagons for parts of the year. Due to the bumper year, three standard gauge fleets and nine narrow gauge fleets moved the grain crop.