Project of the Month
Unlike many countries, Australia emerged from the global financial crisis with a strong economy – one of the strongest in the world in fact. The country’s importing and exporting sectors are particularly powerful; and going forward, they only look to be picking up steam. The Australian National Transport Commission (NTC) estimates that trade levels will double every ten years. The expansion of Port Botany is one example of the industries might. The government-funded expansion of Darwin Port is another.
The Darwin project involves developing the port of the Northern Territory’s capital city to allow accommodation for larger ships. It will also include the creation of new berthing capacity, construct ship-loading facility, and improve rail spurs and dump infrastructure. The government’s investment of 50 million dollars will be utilized to undertake design and engineering work that will greatly increase Darwin Port’s capacity to handle goods for export.
Construction on the expansion has already begun, and additional berths could be in operation as early as next year. In the end, the expansion is designed to increase export capacity and reduce export costs – which will increase the competitiveness of Australia’s most critical exporting gateways, and will ultimately support future economic growth across the Northern Territory and Australia in general.
In 2009, Wayne Swan, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, met with Chief Minister Paul Henderson and Damian Hale, Federal Member for Solomon to discuss equity funding for the Darwin Port expansion. After the meeting, he released a statement to the press.
“The recent federal budget focused squarely on nation building to support jobs and to deliver the critical economic infrastructure our nation needs for the recovery,” said Swan.
He also said for that reason, the Australian government committed to an equity contribution of 50 million dollars to the expansion – a contribution that will be supplemented by investments from the Northern Territory Government as well as the private sector.
“The Darwin Port Expansion will deliver new berthing capacity and new ship loading facilities enabling the port to accommodate large ships suited to the transportation of bulk resources and commodities.”
Darwin Port is an important export gateway for the Northern Territory and for the nation at large – it is, after all, the primary transport link from the territory to markets across the Asia-Pacific region.
Australia has other plans to invest directly in its international gateways. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, released a national ports strategy. The strategy highlights the importance of Australia’s ports to its economic growth. The National Transport Commission welcomed the release.
“Ports handle 25 per cent of all freight movements in Australia,” NTC Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos says. “And the amount of freight moving through them continues to grow. We can improve the productivity of our ports and attract greater private sector investment through more coordinated long term planning strategies.”
The type of long term planning the national ports strategy represents will not only assist the government, but will increase confidence for investing in Australia’s ports.