The Port of Newcastle has welcomed the NSW Nationals decision on Saturday to support the removal of obstacles preventing the development of a new, privately-funded container terminal.
Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the new policy – debated and passed by NSW Nationals members on Saturday – was a demonstration of the party’s commitment to what was in the best interests of the state’s regional economy and the importance of regional jobs.
“This is further recognition of the significant economic and productivity opportunities ready to be unlocked for internationally-trading businesses throughout the state,” Mr Carmody said.
“The Newcastle Container Terminal – an estimated $1.8 billion development to be entirely funded by private investors – will deliver more jobs in regional NSW, a reduction in unnecessary road and rail movements in and out of Sydney, and cheaper freight costs for importers and exporters across the state.”
Deloitte Access Economics found last year that the Port’s catchment area already generates 500,000 full TEU (standard 20-foot shipping containers) annually – the number that could bypass congested Sydney.
As the only east coast port connected to the Inland Rail as part of the first stage, Port of Newcastle would be able to shift more freight onto the tracks via the Hunter region’s world-class heavy rail network.
Complemented by rail infrastructure right to the berth, Port of Newcastle will provide a more competitive and reliable alternative for NSW.
NSW Nationals Moree branch chairman Brendan Moylan welcomed the party’s recognition of the need for growers across the state to have access to the most efficient supply chain in order to be competitive in international markets.
“Growers estimate that the cost of shipping grains and pulses such as chickpeas would fall by as much as $20 per tonne if they were exported via container from Newcastle rather than Brisbane,” Mr Moylan said.
“Over a decade, that translates to about $500 million of economic benefit to North West NSW alone.”
Mr Carmody said it was great to see the NSW Nationals helping regional businesses to take control of their supply chain to get a better deal.
“It is hard enough for regional NSW businesses – whether based in Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Parkes, Bourke, Moree, Narrabri, Scone or Tamworth – to make them pay the cost of supply chain inefficiency that is largely outside of their control because there is currently no competition,” Mr Carmody said.
“We look forward to working with the state and federal governments to remove the current obstacles so this private investment can flow through to regional NSW.”