Businesses across regional New South Wales – including Great Western Plains and the state’s Central West and North-West – would boost their international competitiveness by cutting the cost of transporting a standard shipping container by up to $455, an industry roundtable in Dubbo has heard.

About 40 local government and industry representatives – including the logistics, agriculture, meat, food production, fuels and mining sectors – gathered in Dubbo on Monday (24 June) to further explore supply chain challenges and opportunities across the region

Port of Newcastle also provided an update on a $1.8 billion entirely privately-funded investment to build a container terminal capable of handling the larger, cleaner and more efficient ships popular overseas but currently unable to visit Australia.

A report released late last year by economists at AlphaBeta found that a world-class container terminal in Newcastle would create 4,600 jobs in NSW, slash transport costs and boost the state’s economy by $6 billion.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody welcomed the opportunity to discuss ways to make the state’s trade dependent businesses more internationally-competitive.

“Regional NSW businesses, whether based in Dubbo, Parkes, Cobar, Bogan, Bourke, Narromine, Warren, Gilgandra, Coonamble or Coonabarabran, pay the cost of supply chain inefficiency that is largely outside of their control because there is currently no competition,” Mr Carmody said.

“Today’s discussions certainly helped reaffirm the significant economic and productivity opportunities available to internationally-trading businesses throughout the state.

“The Newcastle Container Terminal will mean more jobs in regional NSW, a reduction in unnecessary road and rail movements, and cheaper freight costs for importers and exporters across the state.”

Deloitte Access Economics found last year that the Port’s catchment area already generates 500,000 full TEUs (standard 20-foot shipping containers) annually – the number that could bypass congested Sydney.

As the only east coast port connected to the Inland Rail as part of the first stage, Port of Newcastle would be able to shift more freight onto the tracks via the Hunter region’s world-class heavy rail network.

Complemented by a new privately-funded rail siding right to the berth, Port of Newcastle will provide a more competitive and reliable alternative for NSW. Mr Carmody said it was great to see regional NSW taking control of its supply chain to get a better deal.

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