Open letter to Brian Paynter, Liberal candidate for Bass, re: the Victorian Government’s Port of Hastings Proposal.
I am concerned that you have stated that you support the Port of Hastings development. I recently attended a talk provided by Dr Hermione Parsons from the Victoria University Institute for Supply Chain and Statistics. Dr Parsons presented findings from;
‘Build it – but will they come? A pre-mortem analysis of the Port of Hastings Development Project to encourage alternative integrated planning’ by Hermione Parsons and Mr Peter Van Duyn.
I would urge you to read this document which I have enclosed as it raises many significant logistical issues in relation to the Hastings proposal.
Usually international container ships serve the other Australian cities as well as Melbourne and the other ports cannot accommodate vessels which require drafts of 16 metres to berth.
So the question is why would Melbourne dredge a 16 metre port in an attempt to attract mega container ships when the ships would not be able to berth anywhere else in Australia?
Melbourne does not have a sufficient population size to attract mega ships to its port alone and apparently there are no proposals for any of the other major ports around Australia to be deepened.
An analysis of freight movement indicates that 70 per cent of freight moves to the northern and western areas of Melbourne.
So 70 per cent of containers unloaded in Hastings would need to be transported through the city to the west and north.
The cost of upgrading a rail option would be exorbitant and would require 140 freight trains to travel along the Dandenong line through suburbia each day.
Alternatively, over 4000 B-double trucks would drive along the Monash Freeway in addition to existing traffic. The report suggests truck operating costs would be doubled.
As you will find in the report, there are many other issues that are raised. And of course it does not analyse any of the environmental concerns including ballast disease, loss of mangrove ecosystems and the threats to a Ramsar protected bay.
I look forward to your response to the Victoria University report.
Helen Searle.