Port Sale, Price Hikes!

MUA Queensland warn of price hikes to follow sale of Port of Brisbane.

The Maritime Union has predicted price rises on goods that pass through the port as a result of its sale.

Mick Carr, MUA Qld branch secretary predicts port charges will go up under private owners and the cost will be passed on to consumers.

"The only reason that someone will buy the port is to turn a profit," he told ABC Radio.

Qld will lose $1b in GST revenue over four years because of tighter federal finances, ABC Radio reports.

The Qld Government is under attack for the sale of the Port of Brisbane. It is the second sale of five state assets as part of a controversial controversial privatisation plan.

Q Port Holdings will pay $2.1b to lease the port for 99 years.

The consortium will also spend $200m upgrading the Port of Brisbane Motorway. By 2012, North Qld's Abbot Point Coal Terminal and the tolling rights on Qld Motorways will both be sold.

Qld Forestry is already in private hands, while QR National will be floated later this month.

BACKGROUND

Qld Government leases Port of Brisbane for $2.3bn

Qld Treasurer and Minister for Employment and Economic Development Andrew Fraser announced on November 10 the signing of documents for the 99 year lease of the Port of Brisbane to a consortium, known as Q Port Holdings, for $2.3 billion.

The consortium comprises of 3 major stakeholders - Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Industry Funds Management, and QIC Ltd, and a minority shareholder Tawreed Investments, a division of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Each major shareholder holds a 27% stake and the minority shareholder will hold 19% stake in the Port of Brisbane.  Minister Fraser advises in his announcement that collectively, Q Port Holdings consortium has interests in port terminals across eight countries.

GIP is a US-based infrastructure-focused private equity firm with total capital size of 5.64 billion US dollar that invests in infrastructure assets worldwide founded by Credit Suisse Group AG and General Electric Co., according to its website.   GIP has made the many infrastructure investments through its a wholly-owned subsidiary International Port Holdings (IPH) that was acquired in 2007 to provide GIP with a platform to lead and drive value in its investments in the ports sector.  Investments in the port sector by GIP that we have been able to identify on initial research are:

 

Great Yarmouth Port (GYP) 

Year of Investment: 2007. GYP is the principal UK port servicing the Southern North Sea oil and gas industry. Together with general cargo including forest products, agribulk and aggregates, it handles 1.3 million tons per annum. GYP is constructing a new deep water outer harbour at Great Yarmouth which will provide enhanced port facilities to cater to larger vessels and a wider range of trades, including a new container terminal for feeder and short sea services. 

 

 PSA (UK) East Terminal 

 Year of Investment: 2007.  IPH (40%) formed a joint-venture company with PSA International (60%) to operate a short sea container terminal at the Great Yarmouth Port. IPH and PSA International are making a substantial capital investment in creating this container terminal. The first phase is projected to be operational in early 2009. 

 

International Trade Logistics (ITL) 

Year of Investment: 2008.  ITL is Argentina's second largest and most modern container terminal. The Company also operates complementary logistics and warehousing businesses. GIP, through its wholly-owned subsidiary IPH, partnered with PSA International, the world's largest operator of container terminals, to acquire a majority interest in this world-class container port and logistics business.

 

GIP has a team of 9 partners, each of whom is a direct investor. The background and the details of these partners contains in the Table A.

Mr. Fraser confirmed that the sale delivers $2.1 billion in cash proceeds to the Consolidated Fund. The new owner agrees to fund the future upgrade of section 3 of the Port of Brisbane Motorway, at an estimated cost of $200 million.

Mr. Fraser announced that by leasing the Port, Queensland will retain ownership of the Port land and key infrastructure such as the Port's wharves and Multimodal Terminal but transfer the expense and risk of operating a commercial shipping Port to the private sector.

Under the terms of the lease, recreational boat harbours like Sandgate and Manly have been removed from the business and will remain in public ownership, and there will be no changes to fishing and boating activities within the Brisbane River or Moreton Bay.

The Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd employs about 330 employees. All Award, and equivalent, employees have been given a commitment that their current terms and conditions will be maintained for the life of their enterprise bargaining agreements.

All award staff has employment guarantees for the coming three years and will not experience any interruption to their continuity of service or accrued entitlements

The State Government will retain the role of Harbour Master through Maritime Safety Queensland and continue its responsibilities in relation to safety, security and the movement of ships within the Moreton Bay shipping channel and Brisbane River.