Why Port Spencer?

We have heard a fairly constant commentary about the “right way to go is a multi-user, multi-commodity port for Eyre Peninsula”

Peninsula Ports and before it, Free Eyre looked very closely at all aspects of the grain industry on Eyre Peninsula. The previous Labor Government estimated that a major all purpose port would cost about $700m. We agree with this assessment. The reason that Port Spencer is budgeted at $230m is because we have stripped out all costs associated with facilitating whomever and whatever might possibly use the port and concentrated on grain. That does not mean that Port Spencer cannot accommodate other products and multiple users. What it means is that Peninsula Ports cannot justify a cost to be eventually paid by the grain industry if it does not add value to the grain industry. We have no problem with negotiating a deal with users who may want to ship in or out products other than grain. However we rule out any product which might contaminate grain and therefore cause our grain marketers grief through rejection or discount in some overseas market. This in the EP experience means iron ore will not be allowed. Hence we are very happy with iron ore having its own Cape Hardy facility. A further point of clarification is that very few ports in the world use the same berth for substantially different products. Even in Port Adelaide it is about 10km from Outer Harbour to the original grain terminal in the Port River.

The advantages which convinced us to acquire the old Centrex site are:

  • The lowest cost Port Site available.
  • Freehold title for the landside component
  • The shortest wharf to deep water – 300m to 14M deep and 600M to 21M deep meaning that panama vessels can be moored from 300M offshore and cape plus vessels at 600M if ever required.
  • The land in behind the shoreside hill is about 2% slope which is ideal for grain bunkers and is less than 500M from the wharf.- as  close as practically able to be used.
  • The shoreside hill is about 15-20m high and protects the wharf from the predominant westerly and south westerly winds.
  • The shoreside hill is granite and therefore the rock is able to be used for a short 220M causeway and also for the base of the bunkers and roads.
  • The tidal flow of sand is south to north but due to the steep seafloor tends not to deposit at the site reducing sand build up problems.
  • The distance from the Lincoln highway to the entrance is about 6.5km, minimising the length of road to be upgraded to highway standard.
  • The Port Spencer site is the closest site to about 1.1M tonnes of grain out of the average 2.6M tonnes grown on average. A further 800,000Tonnes is about equidistant between Port Spencer and the next closest port.

More generally, Free Eyre was set up to provide services and competition to the benefit of the grain industry on Eyre Peninsula. Peninsula Ports was created by Free Eyre to fulfill this role by way of direct competition for grain exports. Free Eyre has over its life provided grain marketing options, up country storage arrangements and a multitude of broader services. It is from this experience that we then concentrated on providing export opportunities, first with Tports then trying to negotiate a satisfactory arrangement with Iron Road, but finally settling on Port Spencer as the best, most economical and efficient site for export of grain from Eyre Peninsula.

Follow this link to hear more on the problems with iron ore dust in Port Hedland and its support of the need to separate grain and iron ore.