Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

    North-West shipping service to continue and expand

    28/11/2005 12:00 AM

    Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said today that freight costs in the North-West would continue to be contained after a State Government decision to support a competitive alternative to road.

    Ms MacTiernan made the comment in announcing the recent decision to continue and expand the coastal shipping service to the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

    Under the new arrangement approved by Cabinet, local Fremantle company Sea Corporation would provide the service for the next four to five years.

    From 2007 the service will operate with a bigger vessel - with 20 per cent greater capacity.

    “Evidence suggests that freight rates into the North-West are 20-30 per cent lower with the shipping service operating and this benefit flows not only to direct users of the service, but to communities and industry right across the region,” the Minister said.

    She said that in high cost areas such as the Kimberley, the resultant savings ran to many millions of dollars.

    “The other key benefit of this service is its ability to reduce road impacts,” Ms MacTiernan said.

    “Each voyage will take the equivalent of 65 road trains off the North-West road system, many of them carrying hazardous or over-size cargo. The savings in road maintenance, traffic safety and the convenience of other road users again run to many millions of dollars.”

    Kimberley MLA Carol Martin said the North-West region was experiencing major economic development and a wide range of opportunities for shipping had been identified.

    “The benefit of this shipping service will be felt not just by direct users, but across the community as a whole,” Mrs Martin said.

    Central Kimberley-Pilbara MLA Tom Stephens also welcomed the decision.

    “In addition to containing freight costs and reducing road impacts, the service will spend up to $2million in the North-West annually and support 16 new regional positions,” Mr Stephens said.

    “These benefits will grow as economic activity expands.”

    Ms MacTiernan noted that with the explosion of economic activity in the North-West, the decision on the new shipping service was timely.

    “The new service will have built-in growth capacity as a result of the North-West boom,” she said.

    “The introduction of a larger vessel onto the service during the life of the contract recognises the needs of this dynamic region and its contribution to the economic well-being of Western Australia.”

    Local WA company Sea Corporation will commence the operation of the service early in the New Year.

    Minister's office: 9213 6400