Frequently asked questions about leasing the Port of Melbourne
Can stevedores bid to lease the Port of Melbourne?
The Port of Melbourne, like other major ports in Australia, operates as a landlord port. The Port of Melbourne Corporation is responsible for developing and maintaining port infrastructure, property management, maintaining the shipping channels, and ensuring safety in Port Phillip Bay.
Stevedore and logistics operator tenants are responsible for the day‑to‑day operation of their facilities. The container terminals at Swanson Dock East and Swanson Dock West are operated by Patrick Stevedores and DP World. At the Port of Melbourne, around 2.5 million containers are handled annually.
A 50‑year lease will allow the leaseholder to plan for the investment needed to expand capacity at the port. Importantly, these costs will be met by the leaseholder.
A 50‑year lease also provides the Government with flexibility about developing port land in the future, after the lease term ends.
The port will return to the State's control when the lease term ends.
The market process will commence after the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Act 2016 passes both Houses of Victorian Parliament.
The 50‑year lease is only for the Port of Melbourne Corporation’s commercial operations:
Port land will continue to be owned by the State.
The Victorian Government will retain responsibility for:
Retaining these functions by Government will help ensure safety of the Bay for all users, recreational and commercial.
Future dredging of the shipping channels in Port Phillip Bay will continue to require the relevant environmental conditions and approvals.
Port of Melbourne’s current tariff schedule is available at www.portofmelbourne.com.au/port‑operations/port‑pricing.
The Port of Melbourne Corporation has frozen prices on loaded international container export charges in 2015‑16 and will progressively reduce export charges, by 2.5 per cent price annually for the four years thereafter.
In the 2014 financial year, rents comprised 14 per cent of total Port of Melbourne Corporation revenues.
This amount will fluctuate from year to year depending on land rents and trade revenues. The vast majority of Port of Melbourne Corporation revenues (excluding rents) are subject to Essential Services Commission price monitoring.
Port landlord costs are generally the smallest contributor to total supply chain costs for the import and export of goods.
Commonwealth Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics data indicates port costs contribute less than 10 per cent of the domestic supply chain costs of imported and exported containerised goods.
Some examples of Port of Melbourne landlord costs per unit of imported goods include:
The existing Essential Services Commission regulatory arrangements will be strengthened such that the leaseholder will set prices in accordance with clear and transparent pricing principles contained in a Pricing Order.
The scope of regulated charges will be expanded to cover all trade charges for cargo and shipping movements. Property rents will continue to be set by contract.
A CPI price cap for at least 15 years will be monitored by the Essential Services Commission.
The principles of the regulatory regime, which provides for the recovery of efficient costs on a defined asset base, reflect a conventional regulatory approach which is substantially similar to other price regulated assets.
In addition, the CPI price cap provides further certainty for port users.
No, the Act does not exempt the port from the potential application of federal regulation.
However, the Port of Melbourne is a competitive, open‑access port. The Essential Services Commission provides effective oversight of pricing of regulated services, and the leaseholder will be required to comply with the strengthened regulatory arrangements.
The Port of Melbourne has the potential to grow trade volumes within its existing footprint and accommodate trade growth for many years.
Future development will depend on investment and productivity of stevedores and other tenants, investment by the leaseholder in incremental capacity and overall trade growth.
Any future development by the leaseholder will be subject to the relevant planning and environmental approvals.
The Government has received technical advice that it is highly unlikely that a significant number of ‘big ships’ will seek to call on the Port of Melbourne within the lease term.
However, the State will have an unfettered ability to respond to any changes in demand by developing a second container port in line with demand.
The Port of Melbourne is capable of supporting Victoria’s economy, trade and jobs well into the future.
A 50‑year lease provides a sufficient horizon to promote this investment and ensure the maximum opportunity for the port to be efficiently utilised.
It gives the Victorian Government the ability to plan for the future and consider options for a second container port.
The State will retain the unfettered flexibility to build a second container port.
Infrastructure Victoria will provide independent advice to Government on the most appropriate site for a second container port, including assessing locations at Hastings and Bay West.
No, the transaction does not include rights in respect of a new port.
No, a second container port will be developed in line with demand.
No, the legislation in no way prevents the State from developing a second port.
The legislation restricts compensation to 15 years from the lease's commencement.
The second port, if state-sponsored, will be subject to competitive neutrality pricing applying to a state-sponsored second port. This ensures a level playing field to allow ports to compete head to head without the distortion of state subsidies and will provide investors with confidence on likely outcomes.
Completion of the remaining stages of the $1.6 billion Port Capacity Project (Webb Dock) will become the responsibility of the new leaseholder.
Most people working at the port are employed by port tenants and will be unaffected by the lease.
The majority of the Port of Melbourne Corporation’s current employees will transfer to the leaseholder to ensure continuity of the business. Employees performing roles relevant to the Port of Melbourne Corporation’s ongoing business will be given the opportunity to remain employed by the Port of Melbourne Corporation.
The Government will ensure that all employees of the Port of Melbourne Corporation are treated fairly and equitably.
Prospective bidders with a controlling interest in stevedores at an Australian capital city port will be restricted from participating in the transaction.
The Expression of Interest document, when it is released, will provide further details.