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IPART names sum to unshackle PoN from ongoing payments

Grain Central, April 5, 2024

Port of Newcastle has approval to handle 350,000 containers through its planned Multipurpose Terminal. Photo: Port of Newcastle

THE PORT of Newcastle’s ambitions to develop a container terminal have been given a boost by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal determining it can make a one-off compensation payment of $13 million to the State of New South Wales.

The figure is payable by PoN under the Port of Newcastle Extinguishment of Liability Act 2022 (NSW) to compensate the State of NSW for competing against Port Botany.

PoN CEO Craig Carmody addressing media today. Photo: PoN

“Today is a significant and historic milestone for Port of Newcastle and regional NSW, a path forward that means we will no longer be penalised for wanting to offer choice and competition in NSW container trade,” PoN chief executive officer Craig Carmody said

“While we are delighted that the determination has been made, we now need to ensure the NSW Freight Reform Review, which the NSW Government has commenced, also reflects the decision by Parliament to promote competition through the Port of Newcastle Extinguishment of Liability Act.

“The current Freight and Ports Policy states that Port Kembla is the designated second port for a container terminal in NSW, which impacts Port of Newcastle’s ability to get planning approvals for its own container terminal.

“We hope the NSW Freight Reform Review will agree that there should be a level playing field for competition rather than the state trying to pick winners.”

Mr Carmody today expressed gratitude to all sides of parliament for their pragmatic approach to the legislative process which is allowing PoN to make a one-off payment, rather than ongoing per-unit fees for containers over a specified number, to the State of NSW.

“Support across the political divide for this Act has been wonderful to see, but I must extend particular thanks to the Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper MP, who courageously fought for regional NSW and ensured all political parties aligned for the benefit of the state.”

With the legislative process nearing completion, attention for the Port turns to the NSW Freight Reform Review, which is a determinant of state planning decisions.

The IPART determination process included the opportunity for all interested parties to make submissions, informing IPART’s review and determination for the one-off compensation payment.

PoN has already invested $35M in its new Multipurpose Terminal, which has planning approval to handle 350,000 containers per year.

This compares with 2.8M total equivalent units which pass through Port Botany, which currently handles 99.6pc of NSW’s containers.

Source: Port of Newcastle, NSW Ports, IPART

 

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