Port Melbourne set for new Automobile Handling Facility
Australia’s biggest car terminal, at the Port of Melbourne, is set to expand after contract agreements were confirmed recently.
Melbourne International RoRo and Auto Terminal Pty Ltd (MIRRAT), a subsidiary of Norwegian logistics company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), has been granted the rights to develop and operate a new 185,000 square metre automobile handling facility north of the current Webb Dock West car terminal at Port Melbourne.
Leighton Contractors, which has been working in the ports and marine sector for more than 20 years, will build the new facility. Development of the new terminal will create employment opportunities and help cater for forecast demand of 600,000 vehicles by 2025.
The expanded facility will be able to handle up to 180 million units a year and will have a total berth length of 920 metres. Other new facilities will include an 8,000 square metre enclosed cargo storage area, a maintenance area and truck parking facilities.
Victorian Minister for Ports David Hodgett announced in a statement released last Friday that the project had been given the green light.
In other reports, Hodgett said: “The Port of Melbourne is the nation’s largest automotive terminal, handling more vehicles than the ports of Fremantle, Adelaide and Brisbane combined.
“The bid lodged by MIRRAT for the rights to build and operate the new automotive terminal offered a competitive, value-for-money solution that ensures the port will continue to evolve and retain its crown as the nation’s leader.”
The new terminal will use innovative solutions to manage trucks and integrate the flow of vehicles through the port’s new pre-delivery inspection hub. The expanded terminal, meanwhile, will consolidate vehicle handling at a single location and reduce the number of car carrying trucks travelling through the Westgate corridor.
An earlier acquisition on the part of MRRAT of a long term lease to operate the facility had been subject to concerns the firm could use its position as the sole operator of what is the only automobile terminal at Port Melbourne to discriminate against shipping companies who compete with the ocean shipping operations of its parent company.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, however, eventually granted authorisation for the lease upon the condition the ACCC be able to publicly review the lease after two years and every five years thereon after.
With revenue of $2.3 billion and 5,800 employees globally, WWL operates 12 terminals and 62 processing centres worldwide which handle around six million automotive and rolling equipment units worldwide.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany