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Westport project: Futureproof Western Australia’s supply chain

Westport project: Futureproof Western Australia’s supply chain
Westport project: Futureproof Western Australia’s supply chain

Western Australia could see its supply chain future-proofed for the next 100 years. Thanks to the Westport project, which is a plan to move the state’s container trade from Fremantle. In a written response from Westport’s spokesperson, Locate2u gained some insight into the project and what it means for logistics and Western Australia. 

In November 2023, Westport announced a preferred design for a new port at Kwinana. 

Earlier this month in a press conference it was announced that the Westport project will receive $US 22.4 million in funding towards the initiative. The premier of Western Australia Roger Cook told the media that this project will see the Kwinana industrial district transformed and become a key export piece of economic infrastructure.

Minister for infrastructure and transport Catherine King said that Westport is an incredibly important project for the state. This will be a transformational project for the west,” says King. 

Why does this project matter? “Over the next two decades, if no new port facilities are developed, the current container trade network at Fremantle will become constrained and negatively impact the economy. As container trade volumes increase over the coming decades, constraints at Fremantle Port will include larger vessel sizes, lack of nearby industrial land, and increasing pressure on the roads and rail in and out of Fremantle.” 

Westport’s spokesperson adds that upgrading Fremantle Port to meet future container and shipping needs would require large, costly, and disruptive capital upgrades on an ongoing and long-term basis. This would still not likely ensure long-term efficiency of our container trade and have heavy impacts on the local area.

Logistics hub and the supply chain

An upgraded road and rail freight network and logistics hub would support a new port at Kwinana. 

The preferred design will include: 

  • Upgrades to the existing freight rail network between Kwinana and Cockburn, connecting the port with a logistic hub in Kenwick, Kewdale, and Forrestfield.  
  • Road upgrades along Anketell Road, Kwinana Freeway, and Roe Highway.
  • The Anketell-Thomas Road Freight Corridor will connect the port with Tonkin Highway in Byford. 
  • A new shipping channel to accommodate larger ships. 

The importance of Western Australia’s freight rail network

Westport’s preferred design will upgrade the rail freight corridor between Kwinana and Cockburn, including rail duplication within the existing corridor and level crossing removals. Westport is currently exploring how the state’s rail mode share can be increased in the future.

“Western Australia’s freight rail network connects primary industries in regional areas with industrial processing hubs, the Fremantle Inner and Kwinana Outer Harbours, and the east coast of Australia.” 

Westport’s spokesperson adds that freight rail currently moves around 20% of shipping containers through the Inner Harbour in Fremantle, the highest mode share in Australia. “The single freight rail line into and out of Fremantle is limited in capacity, which will lead to more containers transported by trucks on inner urban roads.” 

Western Australia’s future growth 

A new terminal in Kwinana presents opportunities to support Western Australia’s future growth and increase the percentage of containers moved by rail. “With this objective in mind, Westport is working with the Department of Transport to assess how freight rail can service the new terminal and existing industrial facilities in Kwinana.” 

Photo Credit: Westport

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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