Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Jan-Feb 2016 Contents THE LOCAL VIEW
THERE is a clear interest from the private
operator of the Port of Newcastle in building
a container terminal for Newcastle.
However, it would appear that the Baird
Government wants to take this wonderful
opportunity for Newcastle’s employment and
growth right off the table. The government
has clearly said: “part of the lease and the
rationalisation was a cap on numbers,” (Hon
Duncan Gay, 17 October 2013).
The development of a container terminal at
the Port of Newcastle would provide the city
with a massive economic boost. It would create
a new distribution hub that could utilise the
existing heavy rail freight network to service
the Hunter region and northern NSW.
A container terminal on the site of the former
BHP steelworks could handle three million
containers per year. To put this in perspective,
Port Botany handled just over two million
containers in 2013.
While Newcastle is a major coal port,
developing it as a container terminal would
‘supercharge’ local job opportunities, improve
linkages across the state, and provide new
But the Baird Government has stopped all
this before it even starts with an incredibly
anti-competitive decision to impose a cap on
the number of containers that can go across
Worse still are intimations that should
Newcastle ever presume to exceed its meagre
cap, the owners of Port Botany would be
financially compensated. These arrangements
make the development of a container terminal
at Newcastle commercially impossible.
Restricting port activity in Newcastle protects
the container monopoly at Port Botany from
competition. Preserving the monopoly at Port
Botany was how the NSW Government inflated
the sale price it received when it was privatised
But restricting activity at Newcastle and
protecting Port Botany’s monopoly is market
rigging by the NSW Government.
For an open trading economy like ours, ports
are strategic economic assets. Many of the
goods we consume, from clothes to computers,
from food to televisions, arrive in containers.
The ports should be freely competing for sea
trade and cargo. Competition among the ports
would keep costs in check, benefitting shippers
Instead, with a monopoly in place, the
forces of competition can not come into play
and the freight industry will be passing on
the extra costs that will inevitably arise. The
Premier’s decision will hurt our economy
It is quite startling to understand that
Premier Baird has created a penalty regime
to punish anyone who wants to invest in
Newcastle and trade from our port. The anti-
competitive restrictions provide that the only
time an increase in container numbers through
Newcastle will be allowed is when a specified
minimum of containers through Port Botany and
Port Kembla has been reached.
The NSW market for port services has been
rigged and fixed.
Novocastrians deserve better and we
deserve answers. But Premier Baird refuses to
disclose the details of these anti-competitive
arrangements and is claiming that the
Port Commitment Deeds, which govern the
privatisation of the three NSW ports, are
commercial in confidence.
Given the explicitly anti-competitive nature
of the government’s actions, I have written
to the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission (ACCC) seeking an investigation
into the restrictions that have been imposed
The chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, has
already signalled his concerns about the
port privatisations. But we need more than
hand-wringing – we need action to get the
Port Commitment Deeds released and the
I want Newcastle to be a vibrant, smart city
that nurtures creativity and innovation. A city
that attracts investment, creates jobs and is
free to compete on its own merits.
Premier Baird needs to be held to account for
hurting our city and its prospects.
PROPOSED CONTAINER TERMINAL AT NEWCASTLE
ANGLO Ports was the lead consortium partner in
Newcastle Stevedores Consortium, which proposed
a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle in
the period 2009 to 2012, pursuant to a tender
conducted by Newcastle Port Corporation.
The following question by the Hon Dr J Kaye
MLC to the Budget Committee of the Legislative
Council and the answer by the New South
Wales Treasury of 22 August 2014 is about this
proposed container terminal:
53. “Given that there has been significant
allegations of at least influence peddling
and political interference under Labor
surrounding proposals to the develop a
container facility in Newcastle, will Treasury
be reviewing that decision?
(a) If so please provide details.
(b) If not why not.”
“Attempts by government to dictate
uneconomic enterprises contrary to market
demand are examples of the kind of
rent-seeking activity likely to encourage
influence peddling or corruption. As the
container port did not proceed, there is no
decision to review.”
The answer conflates the proposal of Anglo
Ports or its consortium with government
dictation, with uneconomic enterprises,
with the absence of market demand, with
influence peddling, and with corruption.
Anglo Ports on behalf of the consortium
categorically denies that its proposal or the
tender under which it was conducted had any
of these characteristics.
Further, the second sentence in the
answer - “As the container port did not
proceed, there is no decision to review” - is
erroneous because the Hon M Baird MP,
as Treasurer, by decisions of 30 August
2012 and 26 July 2013 dictated that a
container port not proceed at Newcastle.
There were other decisions on the container
port proposal, including by Mr Baird and by
Mr E. Roozendaal. There were thus several
decisions about the container port proposal
capable of being reviewed.
The second sentence is misleading in
allowing the interpretation that the proposal
for the container terminal did not proceed
because of a supervening event or because the
proposal was withdrawn. Anglo Ports did not
withdraw the proposal and denies there was
any such supervening event.
Captain R Setchell, Chairman
On behalf of Anglo Ports Pty Ltd and
Newcastle Stevedores Consortium
10 February 2015
THIS IS A STATEMENT BY ANGLO PORTS PTY LTD IN RESPONSE TO ANSWER TO Q 53 IN
SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS ON NOTICE BUDGET ESTIMATES 2014-2015
THE FOLLOWING IS AN OPINION PIECE WRITTEN BY TIM CRAKANTHORP MP, STATE MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016
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