Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics has submitted a bid to redevelop the Webb Dock West automotive terminal at the port of Melbourne. If the bid is successful it will be the 12th automotive terminal that WWL operates around the world.

The Port of Melbourne Corporation will be releasing the request for proposal (RFP) during May and WWL said it was still working with stakeholders to determine what the investment will be for the development.

“WWL is excited with the opportunity to showcase our expertise,” said a spokesperson for the company. “As we already have 11 terminals globally, we are looking forward to demonstrating to the port of Melbourne how we can work with them to deliver a great terminal at Webb Dock West.”

In connection with the terminal RFP, WWL has also been shortlisted to participate in the RFP for an on-wharf vehicle pre-delivery centre.

The company already has a $19m technical services centre approximately 15km from Webb Dock West, which it opened in 2008 to support its increase in ro-ro activity in the Oceania region. The 100,000-square metre Laverton North Technical Services Facility offers an 8,500-square-metre workshop for processing vehicles and high-and-heavy ro-ro equipment. Other facilities at the centre include large drive-through paint booths capable of handling six trucks at a time, as well as quality inspection and service pits for the vehicles and ro-ro equipment.

WWL carries more than 100,000 cars, agricultural units and industrial units to and from Australia every year, making 400 port calls. In Melbourne, 84% of its imported units last year were automotive vehicles. The remaining 16% of cargo was a mix of breakbulk and high and heavy cargo.

Last July Melbourne port announced it was investing AUS$400m ($411m) to expand the vehicle terminal at the West Webb Dock to handle annual capacity for 600,000 vehicles and add on-site, pre-delivery inspection (PDI) facilities. It is the largest commitment to an automotive terminal in Australia, according to the minister for Ports, Dr Denis Napthine

Development at the automotive terminal included the construction of 920 metres of new wharves, more than 1,000 supporting piles and 24,000-square metres of concrete decking.

Responding to this investment WWL said it recognised that the terminal was an integral link in the supply chain and that developments there should result in improved service delivery to the final consumer, something for which its knowledge gained at other WWL terminals around the world could be of benefit.
“As a vessel operator, regardless of who operates the terminal, we believe that the redevelopment of Webb Dock West will provide for improved facilities that should allow a greater number of ro-ro vessels to be received through the port of Melbourne,” WWL’s spokesperson told Automotive Logistics News. “Having a PDI precinct adjacent to the terminal will facilitate an efficient delivery process and ensure that the terminal has strong throughput allowing vessels to continue their voyage.”

WWL said the Webb Dock West’s proximity to Melbourne’s central business district provided a unique chance for a new port operator to demonstrate how a terminal operation can integrate with Melbourne’s residential and commercial landscape.

"As an environmental frontrunner, our vision sees the Webb Dock West facility being renowned for its design and efficient operation to service the needs of industry and the community, all whilst achieving the lowest environmental impact in the industry," said Rob Lord, WWL’s regional director, Oceania.