Perth container terminal capacity and land transport access

Infrastructure Australia | Infrastructure Priority List |

Perth container terminal capacity and land transport access

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Perth container terminal capacity and land transport access

A graphic of the Australian continent with WA state shaded and small dot representing Perth.
Perth, WA
Fast-growing cities
Efficient Markets
WA Government
Longer term (10-15 years)
03 February 2023

Fremantle Port Inner Harbour handles most of Western Australia’s container trade. Throughput at the current container terminal is limited by urban development that constrains the road and rail connections into the port.  

In 2020-21, the port handled approximately 807,061 containers. This trade is expected to grow to the extent that the capacity of the current supply chain will be exceeded by 2032. These capacity constraints need to be addressed if the freight supply chain is to remain efficient. 

This proposal was first added to the Infrastructure Priority List as a Stage 1 listing in February 2016. 

Potential investment options

In 2017, the WA Government commenced detailed planning and environmental assessments for Perth’s future container trade. This has included a comprehensive options identification and analysis process. 

Proposed options include port configurations and operational approaches for locations in Fremantle, Kwinana and Bunbury. A multistage MCA was used to shortlist three options, which were assessed using rapid CBA to identify two preferred options to take forward for detailed analysis in a business case.

The potential investment options to be assessed in the business case (Stage 3) are: 

  • Option 1: Develop a new land-backed port in the southern part of the Kwinana coastline connecting to existing freight routes via an upgraded Anketell Road and existing rail lines. Container operations at the Inner Harbour would move once the new port is completed. 

  • Option 2: As Option 1, however once the new port is completed, containers will continue to move through the Inner Harbour over a 10-year transition period before ceasing operations. 

While progressing two staged options is not a best practice approach to determine the most suitable response to the problems and opportunities, overall, there appears to be sufficient evidence to progress Kwinana as the preferred option on the basis that it achieves the policy decision of the WA Government to unlock land in the Fremantle Inner Harbour for alternative land uses.

Strategic Fit 

A range of build and non-build options were considered and the shortlisted options respond to the identified problems and opportunities. Further investigation is required to achieve higher value land use at the existing port location and manage significant stakeholder concerns.  

Societal Impact 

The shortlisted options will enable higher value land use through redevelopment of the Inner Harbour for residential and commercial use and reduce the cost of trade by allowing larger ships to be accommodated. Environmental approvals are underway, with potentially significant environmental impacts requiring further assessment and mitigations. 


Appropriate planning and governance processes to mitigate risk are being developed. The scale and complexity of the proposal will require careful management and extensive stakeholder engagement.

Next Steps

The business case for the Perth Container Terminal Capacity and Land Transport Access proposal is currently under development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework). 

Refer to Infrastructure Glossary for terms and definitions.