Chinese privately owned energy and infrastructure conglomerate Landbridge Group has won a AUD 506 million bid to run Australia’s Port of Darwin for the next 99 years, the Northern Teritory’s Chief Minister Adam Giles announced.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Northern Territory will lease the Darwin Port land and facilities of East Arm Wharf, including the Darwin Marine Supply Base, and Fort Hill Wharf to Landbridge Group for 99 years.
The Territory will retain Stokes Hill Wharf, Fisherman’s & Hornibrook’s Wharves and Frances Bay facilities. It will also retain a range of oversight and regulatory functions including the Regional Harbourmaster role and, through the independent Utilities Commission, responsibility for price and access regulation.
”Landbridge has confirmed its intent to maintain the established workforce at the Port of Darwin and that there will be no forced redundancies during the term of the current enterprise agreement, which terminates in June 2018. Landbridge also intends to implement a stable and competitive pricing regime for Port services with no more than CPI indexed pricing adjustments for the use of current Port facilities,” the Northern Teritory government said in a statement.
Landbridge Group already operates a 30 million tonne per annum port in North Haizhou Bay in Shandong province, located between Beijing and Shanghai.
“We plan on making considerable financial investment in the Port of Darwin. In addition to committing an initial AUD 35 million of new growth investment expenditure over the first 5 years, we anticipate in excess of AUD 200 million of capital expenditure over the next 25 years. Given the scope of development opportunities in the Territory, we hope to invest a lot more,” Landbridge Infrastructure Australia’s Director Mike Hughes said.
Hughes also said that Landbridge’s first project will be to increase refrigerated container capacity at the port, as well as to explore opportunities for improvement in Fort Hill and adjacent areas.