Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 stories the member for Ludmilla described. Because of the ongoing work being done by the Minister for Transport and Works and by the staff of the Darwin Port Authority, the message is finally getting through. It has been an ongoing marketing program to sell the good-news story of the Port of Darwin and it has been very pleasing to see the growth in the numbers of ships which are returning to Darwin or coming here for the first time. This success will spread, just as the failures in the 1960s and 1970s spread, and opportunities will grow from that. The article in The Australian which I referred to earlier contained an interesting story, which deserves to be put on record in this context. I quote: The Australian traced the route of 1 British-registered container ship, due to offload in Sydney from February 3, which was delayed at Port Botany for 6 days at a loss of $130 000 on ship operating costs. The 15 000 t container vessel, Arafura, was due to leave Sydney on February 5 and visit Port Melbourne and Port Adelaide before docking in Brisbane on February 16. As a result of the Port Botany delay, the Arafura left Sydney with a full hold on February 7 and went directly to Adelaide to offload its cargo, which was then transported by rail back to Sydney. The cargo is still en route to New South Wales and is not expected to arrive until at least Friday, 2! weeks overdue. The $250 000 rail freight charge will be paid by the ship's management, Australian North Bound Shipping Conference, a group of shipping lines that controls vessels on Middle East, South-east Asian, European and Japanese trade routes. The Arafura was due in Melbourne this morning but could face further delays when it eventually arrives in Brisbane on February 19. 'Last week, we had 4 ships from each of our trade routes diverted around Australian ports', said the manager of Ascon, Mr Lew Russell. That story refers only to delays faced by ships. Having moved cargo onshore, however, it is recognised that it can take anything up to 6 or 8 weeks to move it out of a congested port like Sydney or Melbourne and onto a truck. Such delays involve heavy costs for people who have to pay for the goods from the moment they are loaded at the point of export. Interest rates of 18% to 20% make a big difference in the costs of having those goods delivered into their stores. Such factors as the degree of congestion in the port and the ability of our port to turn vessels around and get cargo through the port and onto land transport, can make a difference of weeks. Those weeks have a big impact on the consignee in dollar terms. The freight forwarder who uses an efficient port facility will gain a competitive advantage in marketing his service to people who want goods delivered into their stores from overseas. I may be wrong about this but I understand that in the order of 80% of Australia's imports come from our north. That is a significant volume with great potential for the Port of Darwin. Even a minute percentage of that would turn the Port of Darwin around dramatically. There, is no doubt that a railway line would create efficiencies in the form of a mass transit service across land, thereby dramatically expanding the volume of goods shipped through the port. There is no doubt about that. It may well be that, in a perverse way, increasing activity at the port may provide the justification for the railway as well as providing additional trading opportunities for 5594

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