NSW Ports, the Australian investment consortium managing ports and terminals of New South Wales, announced its plans to invest in on-dock rail infrastructure capacity at each of the three container terminals at Port Botany, ultimately increasing the port’s rail capacity to 3 mln TEU.
The investment will be staged, with stevedores being required to invest in rail operating equipment to meet target terminal capacities, said the company.
Phase I will start in 2019 and is planned to be completed by 2023, by when the port side rail capacity is expected to increase from 750,000 to 1.5 mln TEU and thus to double existing train numbers from 16 to 32 per day.
The first to receive the investment will be Patrick’s Port Botany Terminal. NSW Ports intends to invest AUD 120 mln over the next 4 years for Phase I of this rail enhancement program. Patrick will make a complementary investment of AUD 70 mln in rail operating equipment and systems to deliver 1 mln TEU capacity.
The enhancement will deliver facilities with 4 rail sidings of 600m long, that will reduce splitting and shunting of trains, enabling trains to be handled at least an hour quicker. That is a 33% reduction in turnaround time that directly benefits exporters, regional farmers and cargo owners.
For faster loading/unloading operations, new automated rail mounted gantries will be used.
Rail operations at Patrick are expected to continue during the construction period.
NSW Ports says that it will implement an increase of AUD 3.08 per TEU in wharfage fees on full imports and exports to fund the investment. The increase will come into effect on 1 July 2019 and will be removed once the investment has been recovered.
Increasing rail capacity will ensure Port Botany, the only Australian port with direct rail connections, can cater for recently opened intermodal facilities (Enfield 2016) and those about to open (Moorebank 2019), as well as service regional NSW exports.
Marika Calfas, Chief Executive Officer at NSW Ports, commented: “The growth of containers on rail is a key objective in NSW Ports’ Master Plan, to cater for the growing trade needs of NSW. This investment will build greater rail capability at the port, supporting the Government’s investment in completing the Port Botany rail duplication, and ongoing investments in large-scale intermodal rail logistics centres at Enfield and Moorebank.”
The industry has largely demonstrated a positive reaction to this announcement.
Max Kruse, Chief Operations Officer at DP World Australia, is among those to welcome the announcement: “DP World Australia welcomes the investment in additional rail capacity at Port Botany and we will be enhancing our own rail capacity to maximise the benefits for our customers.”