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Australia plans $2.5bn expansion at Newcastle port

Australia plans $2.5bn expansion at Newcastle port

Sydney: The New South Wales Government is examining a coal industry proposal to double the capacity of the Newcastle Port by 2013. The proposal would be funded by a coalition of 14 mining companies.

Ports Minister Joe Tripodi said in Sydney this week he will examine whether the expansion would allow for new companies to enter the market. He believes it to be a positive step for the industry to fund its own needs.  "What a lot of people do not understand is just about all of the logistics chain or the supply chain for coal into Hunter Valley is privately-owned and operated," he said. "Therefore, when there are actual bottlenecks in that capacity it flows from decisions in the past about how much to invest in infrastructure."

Meanwhile the State Premier, Morris Lemma confirmed the Government would not stop a privately funded expansion of Newcastle's port as long as the process does not break competition laws. Lemma says the State Government has upheld its end of the bargain at Newcastle port, but the privately-controlled loading facilities are still causing bottlenecks.

"The port has massive capacity. The loading facilities that are owned by the industry, that's their responsibility, it's for them to come to an arrangement that will work and will not break the competition laws that are regulated at a national level," he stated.  [04/08/08]