Port of Newcastle's Inept Position

Playing the political game harder and better

The Port of Newcastle and its regional stakeholders have failed to meet the port planning challenges facing NSW. 


The Port of Newcastle commissioned several consultancies designed to boost its commercial prospects including  Deloittes – “NSW Container and Ports Policy” (March 2018): task to establish an economic case to divert traffic from Port Botany to PON on the basis of a large “footprint” through regional NSW, with material reductions in truck traffic in Sydney, and reductions in logistics costs. 

  

There is no market imperative behind Newcastle’s claim. There is no strategy to build a political coalition of regional interests Vs waste in the metropolis, including the pernicious effects of the Western Sydney City Deal. There, the WS Business Chamber cannibalised its regional buddies without them even realising.


The City is distracted by the despicable Mike Baird super-tax clause and by claims that Newcastle can replace Port Botany and Port Kembla (both owned by the State Government) through a railway by-pass of Sydney’s great economic mass to be provided by the same State Government. Dream on. 

The queue of promised projects in existing metropolitan areas is already an unfunded $100 billion-plus – without a cent for Newcastle jobs (including a wasteful tramway).


· Soft regard for Labor-held Hunter Federal and State electorates Vs hard preference to Liberal MsP on the Central Coast, and unskilled advisors in the agencies and Offices, producing a diversion of funds to Faster Rail which will reduce freight priorities at a time when both Illawarra and Hunter interregional lines are under pressure already`

· Incompetence in the regional business chambers and councils, with the Hunter relying on theoretically separating freight and passengers through the mythical by-pass, Wollongong combining the traffics through a rail extension that will have grossly insufficient capacity, and Western Sydney twisting urban budgets so as to sterilise freight via Port Kembla and the South West’s commuters whose mayors were bought-off by the PM using a Baird stratagem

· Hunter’s acceptance of the Port/Deloittes approach without independent verification

· In-built State bias towards Ports Botany and Kembla and Cooks River IMT which are State-owned as is Enfield; Moorebank being “connected” and Kembla being closer to Sydney and more easily connected to Inland Rail (other things being equal)

· Ignorance of realpolitik factors in city, regional State and Federal affairs, the carpe diem factor

· Small market yield from Newcastle’s catchment together with cynicism about the Port’s claim that it will spread over terminals on the Inland Rail


image10

PON misdirections

PON cannot win if it continues current directions

On 1 August 2018 the new PON CEO posted a release that was all but identical with his Chairman's previous errors, including "we cannot proceed while the NSW government imposes an artificial restriction on port competition" when that is peripheral, and "dramatically reduce the number of trucks on Sydney's roads through expanded use of Newcastle's rail connectivity"


There is no connectivity and  PON has no plan to develop one (the alternative being part of TLL's copyrighted IP).


Underpinning Deloittes is the error to spread the catchment as far as Parkes; where reality would have Parkes, the main hub on Inland Rail, drawing its local IMT trade from its own geo-economic circle to and from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. 


As well, its comparison was of regional freight to PON or Botany, not to Parkes. Even then, landside cost savings amounting to a discounted $1.1 billion, or $1.3 billion as the cost of lost competition, are not revolutionary numbers, not enough to justify major land infrastructure. 


Claims that PON’s higher operational level would materially affect truck congestion in Sydney are not valid - less than 1 year's growth in Sydney's truck loads, 1% of over 1 million a year.


It is concluded that Deloittes' market potential assessment is a high-order wish list which needs to be put into a proper national and state strategy of a type not yet done.  PON has rejected TLL's efforts to do so.


Brookings’ Freight Mapping's quality is far above anything Australia has seen especially from iA and GSC.

image11