Love of inner city living threatens port productivity warns report

Posted by on 2 June 2014

Australians’ enthusiasm for inner-city living threatens to have a significant impact on the efficiency of the nation’s major ports, a report has warned.

It says Australia will pay a high price in lost productivity if redevelopment and gentrification of inner urban areas in capital cities and regional centres is allowed to encroach on land access to and from the ports.

The report, Leading Practice: Port & Supply Chain Protection, quotes data highlighting the premiums being paid for inner urban properties. In Sydney and Melbourne, a dwelling 50 kilometres from the city centre has doubled in value in real terms since 1986, while one close to the CBD has increased more than five-fold, demonstrating increasing competition and land use tension for land near the inner-city and the waterfront.

The report was developed by Ports Australia, the peak body for port authorities and corporations, in partnership with the Western Australian Freight and Logistics Council and Ports WA. It says the key to successful protection of key port facilities, freight nodes and infrastructure corridors involves:

  • identification and preservation of new port facilities, freight and infrastructure corridors; and
  • effective statutory protection of existing port facilities, freight nodes and infrastructure corridors from inappropriate land uses, encroachment and consequential conflicts including with passenger traffic and residential land uses.

“The further development and productivity of our cities and regional towns will rely on the movement of freight. It is that simple,” the report says.

“Transport planning [in Australia] has largely been focused on public transport and transit-orientated developments, however, the critical need for improved freight and industrial planning at major activity centres and along relevant corridors has been seldom addressed.”

Ports Australia CEO, David Anderson, said the productivity and competitiveness of Australia’s economy was highly dependent on our ability to reduce unit transport costs.

“The highest supply chain costs reside in landside logistical arrangements and increasingly our ability to get the best out of our supply chains is prejudiced by planning failures.  Australia will pay a high price if these failures continue to increasingly constrain our ports from operating efficiently and developing their capacity to address increasing trade traffic.

“This report points to some progress in a number of Australian jurisdictions but Ports Australia is calling on Planning Ministers to give priority to all-of-government approaches to freight corridor and freight precinct planning.”