Industry representatives at Dubbo have heard they could make significant savings in freight and increase their international competitiveness if they were able to tap into a planned world-class container terminal in Newcastle in the future.
Businesses could save up to $455 in the cost of transporting a standard shipping container from the Orana region via its proposed $1.8 billion facility, under economic modelling cited by Port of Newcastle chief Craig Carmody.
Mr Carmody was meeting with the local government and industry representatives on Monday to further explore supply chain challenges and opportunities.
The Port of Newcastle has been developing the container terminal concept for some time.
The concept's future is before the courts, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission bringing a case against NSW Ports for an allegedly anti-competitive agreement with the NSW government that the ACCC says would "prevent or hinder" the development of a container terminal in Newcastle by making it uneconomic.
In the meantime, the Port of Newcastle is continuing to highlight the project's anticipated benefits.
A report by economists at AlphaBeta, commissioned by Port of Newcastle, found in the Dubbo Regional Council area the savings of using Newcastle in the future would be $405 per container, while in the Warrumbungle Shire it would be as much as $455.
"The number one benefit... it's around about a $450 reduction in the cost of moving a container from this area at the moment that would otherwise go to Botany," Mr Carmody said.
"And then obviously because it's fully automated, and we would have the warehouse and distribution centres inside the port, the overall productivity benefits means the exporter could get their product to market faster.
"We believe between 30 and 50 per cent reduction in total transport costs for the product from here to Asia."
We believe between 30 and 50 per cent reduction in total transport costs for the product from here to Asia.Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody
Port of Newcastle has had a connection with the Orana region for some years, with products making their way both east and west.
"This is a major area for the Port of Newcastle now in bulks, particularly grains, fertilisers... so it was also an opportunity for us to connect with people who already use our services and just find out how they think we're going," Mr Carmody said.
Representatives from industries including logistics, agriculture, meat, food production, fuels and mining were in attendance.
Mr Carmody said the forum allowed discussion about how they could better facilitate the trade out of the region in the bulk section of the business.
"And then continuing having the conversation about if and when we build the container terminal, what is it they most want," he said.
"The luxury the Port of Newcastle has is this is a greenfield site, so we can design the container terminal and the supply chain to best suit what their needs are.
"And we've got at least a year's worth of design work to go through, and we want to understand what they want from us."
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