Port Botany growth predictions – Transport for NSW vs NSW Ports

When will Port Botany reach capacity and what is that capacity?

What is the route of the proposed link between Port Botany and WestConnex and when will it be constructed?

What is the future for container shipping at Port Kembla and Newcastle?

When will the Maldon-Dombarton rail link  be completed?

How reliable is the data, assessment and decision-making process?

page 106 Future Transport 2056 – Transport for NSW

 NSW Ports -the owners of Port Botany, Port Kembla, Enfield Intermodal and Cooks River Terminal – predict container throughput volumes at Port Botany 7.5 million  -8.4 million TEU by 2045.   Transport for NSW predict 5.5- 6.4. * Two million TEU difference.   This is  significant,  because when the Port was approved for expansion in 2005 the cap was set at 3.2 million.  The Environmental Impact Statement was based on a cap of 3.2 million and in the Conditions there was a statement to the effect that were the cap to be raised or removed another Environmental Impact Assessment would be required.  However, no assessment occurred before  the cap was abolished through  an act of Parliament in November 2012.   The 65 ha of Botany Bay and Botany’s only beach were destroyed so another million TEU could be added to the already projected capacity of around 2.2 million. Under the Ports Growth Plan (2003) :

‘When Port Botany reaches capacity Newcastle will be the State’s next major container facility.”

Page 37 NSW Ports 30 Year Master Plan

In the preface to the Future Transport document, Ministers Constance and Pavey state that Sydney’s freight task will ‘double’ by 2056.  However, according to NSW Ports it is projected to quadruple in the next 40 years.

By 2056, NSW will have 11.2 million residents and be the country’s first trillion dollar state economy.  Sydney, one of the developed world’s fastest growing cities, will be a global city similar in size to London or New York today. This growth will mean our networks will handle 28 million trips a day and double the current metropolitan freight task.  

Note that on TfNSW’s low growth projections the volume for  containers is at 7 million TEU not 5 million TEU which is effectively what double the current throughput represents.   For year ended 30th June 2017 NSW Ports throughput at Port Botany was 2.43 million. 

“Road and rail network improvement and development to serve Global Gateways in
Newcastle and Port Kembla will be linked to anticipated freight growth and the need for an overflow port once Port Botany reaches capacity. On a range of scenarios, Future Transport expects this will occur between the early 2030s and mid-2040s, depending on rates of trade growth and the productivity of the Port Botany interface and supply chains.” (page 85)

Effectively, Transport for NSW are saying that Port Botany’s capacity is around 5 million TEU.   In the  NSW Freight and Ports Strategy released 4 years ago  Transport for NSW predicted around 11 million TEU by 2036-37 (see page 83) which is more than double what they are predicting in the Future Transport plan.

It is difficult to have confidence in planning when figures vary so much and both the Greater Sydney Commission and Future Transport NSW are casual about basic accuracy.

Botany Beach before the construction of the Hutchison Terminal

In the Greater Sydney Commission’s Draft Central District Plan, released in November last year for comment, the majority of maps showed the former Botany Beach and not the Hutchison Terminal.  This error misrepresents the extent of public amenity in the area, the environmental degradation(eg. approximately 7.5million tonnes dredged from Botany Bay for the expansion plus the loss of seagrasses), and the extent of the Port.  Despite being alerted to the shortcomings in these maps the recently released Revised Draft Eastern City District Plan contains 9 maps (the majority) which show the same error.  Pages – 13, 16, 32, 37, 41, 47, 51, 93, 105  

 References to Port Botany in GSC Sydney East Rev Draft


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