NSW Container Ports | NSW Ports
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Major Initiatives

NSW Container Ports



In the next 40 years, NSW's population is forecast to grow to 12.5 million, with an extra 3.8 million people living in Greater Sydney alone.

Ensuring we have the right ports and freight strategy in place to efficiently cater for the NSW's growing trade needs is crucial to the economic vitality of the State. However prematurely introducing a new container terminal before it is needed could increase costs for NSW importers and exporters, result in an 'infrastructure white elephant' and undermine decades of careful State port planning.

This is why the NSW Government's existing long-term freight and ports strategy - that Port Botany followed by Port Kembla will support NSW's container needs -  is a long-standing strategy that reflects the population, demographic and economic growth trends which are to the west and south-west of Sydney.

Port Botany - the heart of NSW’s container freight

Australia is an island nation and our ports connect us with the world. In New South Wales , we are connected to the global market place by Port Botany.

Built just 40 years ago to handle containers – the international standard for transporting goods – today the port features three container terminals operated by independent stevedores, and is inextricably linked to our lives and lifestyles:

Planning for NSW's growing trade volumes

Port Botany currently handles 2.8M TEU and has capacity for over 7 million TEUs. Given NSW Government forecasts estimated that Port Botany could be handling over 7.3 million TEUs by 2056, Port Botany will be able to handle the state's growing container freight requirements for many years. Our 30 Year Masterplan sets out how the port can handle these growing trade volumes.

Port Botany can also handle ‘big’ ships. While most vessels calling into Australia are are around 5000 – 6000 TEUs, container vessel sizes are increasing due to the steady increase in the international container freight task and the consolidation of freight by shipping lines to achieve economies of scale.  Current port infrastructure means Port Botany can already service vessels of more than 15,000 TEUs today.
We are also making significant investments to sustainably support container growth, and are focused on growing rail capacity to ensure efficient rail connections, which will keep supply chain costs low and reduce the cost of goods to families and businesses while keeping our exports competitive.

A fourth container terminal is unlikely to be needed until after 2045.

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Port Kembla - Port of Growth

As Port Botany approaches capacity, the NSW Government's long-term strategy is to develop the state's next container terminal at Port Kembla.

A container terminal at Port Kembla has already received concept approval by the NSW Government. Its proximity to Sydney and access to west and south west Sydney mean Port Kembla is well positioned to handle the expected growth in freight volumes.

“Port Kembla has been identified as the location for the development of a future container terminal to augment capacity of Port Botany when required”

- Transport for NSW
(NSW Freight and Ports Plan, September 2018)

Population growth drives the destination of imports

Over 80% of containers through Port Botany are delivered within a 40km radius and 90% of containers within a 50km radius. 

This map shows the relative location of Port Kembla to the growth centres of Sydney based on the Three Cities model of the Greater Sydney Commission, incorporating Eastern Harbour City, Central River City and Western Parkland City.

Quay Conclusions

A recent KPMG report, Quay Conclusions: Finding the best choices for additional port capacity in NSW made three key findings: