Westport grows legs as WA demands trade growth

Westport

Port of Dampier cargo wharf. Photo courtesy of Pilbara Ports Authority.

The long deliberated Westport, south of Perth, has been the subject of a market briefing, as plans for Western Australia’s latest port facility look to satiate the state’s trade needs including ore and mineral exports.

In Kwinana, the concept of another port has been considered since 2017, when a Westport taskforce was established to investigate its feasibility.

Minister for Transport and Ports Rita Saffioti said the process was arduous but necessary.

“Planning for a new port is extremely complex, and that is why we want to partner with businesses that can bring world-class knowledge to the project,” Saffioti said.

“Today’s industry briefing is a key step in making the Westport program a reality.”

The briefing discussed the matter of securing tenders and contracts for the development, which will be released in the latter half of 2021 via TendersWA.

The port would be relevant to a number of mining companies, including BHP at its Kwinana nickel sulphate refinery.

Rail freight company Aurizon has contracts with the likes of Macarthur Minerals and GWR Group to transport 500,000 tonnes of direct-shipment ore between Kalgoorlie and Kwinana.

The need for more accessible ports in the area was made clear when Mineral Resources was unable to meet its shipping targets due to port congestion at the current Kwinana port.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan emphasised the need to pivot from a reliance on nearby Fremantle Port.

“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,” McGowan said.

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said this development was a long time coming and would serve the state for a long time into the future.

“Kwinana has been recognised as the logical location for a new container port for decades, with its existing industrial strip and room for expansion and development,” MacTiernan said.

“We must now move ahead over the next four years and build the case for investment: detailed environmental assessments, detailed port and supply chain design, thorough costings and ongoing engagement with industry and the community.

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