Boom to bust for Queensland ports
Last November CPD released Too many ports in a storm a report by research director Laura Eadie. The report explored Queensland’s approach to port development and discussed the current surplus in port capacity. With debate still flowing around the new Queensland plan Port Strategy picked up CPD’s findings with coal terminals operating around 65%, well under capacity. With the debate heating up CPD has recently released All boom, no benefit? a response to the draft Queensland plan making the argument for a more sustainable course that was also picked up by Port Strategy.
Getting port policies right
The Queensland governments plan is looking to avoid over and underinvestment into ports but also need to take into consideration environmental impacts, notably those on the Great Barrier Reef.
“On the one hand, the proposal argues that before considering any options for further expansion, maximum use of existing port infrastructure needs to be secured. This suggests that left to themselves, port development companies may over-invest, an argument also made by the environmental think thank Centre for Policy Development, which points out that “many of the entities involved in port development have incentives aligned with inefficient investment in ports””
Dredging when not needed will have environmental costs however the article notes there is a risk of underinvestment in ports with export growth.