Hutchison Port Holding Named For Botany

The NSW Government has announced that Hutchison Port Holding will be the 3rd operator at the new Port Botany terminal.

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced today that Hutchison Port Holdings will be the operator of the new 3rd container terminal at Port Botany from 2012.

Hutchison has already won a tender for the Port of Brisbane.

The Premier said that the $1 billion Port Botany expansion and introduction of a 3rd operator would create 900 new jobs and boost the state economy by $16 billion over the next two decades. 

The announcement comes as Port Botany posted its eight consectuive year of growth, with exports up 1.6 per cent in 2009.

Construction of the new terminal began last year and is expected to be operational in 2012.

The Maritime Union has been critical of the introduction of a third operator, arguing that rather than competition lowering charges and increasing productivity there may not be enough business to sustain three operators.

This was highlighted recently when Dubai World had to be  bailed out after getting into debt during the global economic crisis.  

The future of Australia's multibillion-dollar stevedoring industry was thrown into jeopardy in November after the Dubai government, owner of the country's second-largest ports operator, faced with looming debt repayments, announced it would restructure the company. Dubai World accounted for half the oil rich Emirate nation's debt.

Abu Dhabi, only this week had to bail-out Dubai with a  $10bn loan, leading to some optimism that the Australian business, acquired just three years ago as part of a takeover of P&O Ports global operations will survive the crisis. 

Ultimately it won't be state government but the market which will determine how many stevedoring companies are viable in Australian ports.