By The Editor
The Baillieu Government’s announcement to develop the Port of Hastings into Victoria’s second major container port is most welcome and will strengthen the state’s capacity to deal with the expected boom in container trade.
Minister for Ports Denis Napthine confirmed yesterday the Government will introduce a Bill to establish an independent Port of Hastings Development Authority, which will prepare a plan for the port’s expansion.
This reverses the previous Government’s decision to roll the Port of Hastings Corporation into the Port of Melbourne.
Dr Napthine says he expects the Port of Hastings to be fully developed in about 10 or 15 years, to help handle the anticipated eight million shipping containers a year arriving in Port Phillip Bay by the year 2035.
“We need to start work now on establishing a second port to relieve the forecast congestion and ensure Victoria’s continued economic success,” Dr Napthine said.
VECCI welcomes the development of the Hastings Port, as it will have many long-term benefits for Victoria’s economic future. Having an alternative port will allow Victoria to accept more cargo enhance our reputation as an international trade hub, especially as Asian markets continue to open up.
It will also serve our thriving business community in the south east of Melbourne, providing more direct access to a major port and reducing transport costs.
And, of course, it reduces the heavy load experienced by the Port of Melbourne and will allow for quicker and more efficient trade.
However, while this announcement helps to secure Victoria’s long-term trade future, we’re also in need of more immediate fixes. Swanson Dock is already close to capacity and is struggling to cope with the larger ships who reach the port, because those ships have trouble turning in the Swanson Dock basin.
We’d urge examination of works at Swanson and/or Webb Docks over the next four to five years to lessen this strain, while we wait for construction to be completed at Hastings.