Why Does Fremantle Need or Not Need, Perth Freight Link (PFL)


Friday the Herald published an article in their Thinking Allowed, I wrote last week called “OPEN MINDS” in response to another thinking allowed a few weeks back. Now while I think everyone should have their say or opinion, what’s been missing in this issue is actual debate. Missing is a discussion on the pros and cons. What if we do PFL? What happens if we don’t do PFL. All fair questions which deserve fair/honest answers. Currently the public discussion just involves no, I have not heard any points about what happens if we don’t built it? What happens if built part of it, or what do we have to modify to make it work?

I understand there are lots of reasons people will not support this project.  To be perfectly honest it does not actually solve the real problems that need to be addressed, as it stands or as is proposed now.

I understand the councils positioning, they have an anti-car platform, so saying no to a new road suits their ideology. That doesn’t help the average Freo resident, as by far the vast majority use their cars on a daily basis.


My concern is, if we blindly state NO and it wins through, nothing will happen for years to a decade or more. Can we afford to allow the trucks to increasingly drive through our suburbs, as the situation will continue to increase each year as predicted by the PFL by approx. 7% a year. Even if the outer harbour is started tomorrow, container freight in Fremantle will continue to grow and grow for years to come.

Once they have an actual plan for the new port, I’m sure we will have plenty of protest and environmental issues to deal with, which could drag out the project for years.

So if the PFL is built which route will it take?

Will PFL be a  massive Hwy down High St, joining Stock Rd, or will it be tunnel off Stirling Hwy under WGV and Beaconsfield?

Will the tunnel be drilled underneath the burbs or open cut?

Will the tunnel have exhaust funnels, if so where?

Would exhaust funnels have filters, if not why not?

If PFL is not built, what is Fremantle’s Councils truck/traffic solution over the next decades?

If the PFL is not built, how many more numbers of trucks will drive down Stirling Hwy, High St, and Leach Hwy?

What is the maximum amount of Fremantle container Freight to be put on rail?

What is the maximum number of containers that can be put on rail and why?

What is the the pollution reduction for driving on a  newly developed PFL compared to the route currently we have for trucks?

How will the Fremantle council supported CUSP plans, solve the traffic issue for North Fremantle?

How will the Fremantle council supported CUSP plans, solve the traffic issue for Stirling Hwy?

How will the Fremantle council supported CUSP plans .solve the traffic issue for High St?

How will the Fremantle council supported CUSP plans, solve the traffic issue for Hampton Rd?

How will the Fremantle council supported CUSP plans, solve the traffic issue for Leach Hwy?

What contingency plans does the council have for a train derailment in the CBD ?

How will a Roe 9 effect Fremantle Cemetery, if at all?

How will Lat 32 cut truck miles, emissions and volume of trucks out of Fremantle in the next decade?

Will stopping the PFL improve the traffic on High St, Hampton Rd, Stirling Hwy Nrth Freo?

What improvements/additions will PFL bring Fremantle?

What improvements/additions will stopping PFL, bring to Fremantle?

What are all the negative of PFL and what do we need to do to negate these if we can?

What are the positives from PFL that are worth keeping?

How will Lat 32 help the north Freo traffic issue?

If we put 30% of containers on rail how many trains would go through Fremantle each day and how long will they be?

What environmental issues will building new roads to Lat 32 cause, how much native bush land will need to be cleared to build the necessary links?

How much native bush land will be cleared to build Lat 32?

What environmental issues will building a new port or outer harbour in Kwinana cause?

What is the current council plan to deal with truck issues in our suburbs without PFL?

What needs to be done to PFL plans to make its connection into Nth Freo’s port area and what is the cost?

What road treatments will be needed to cross Canning Hwy if PFL goes ahead and what will it cost?

If the PFL is built what is the traffic management plan for  Stirling Hwy, High st and Leach Hwy while its being constructed ,what new route will the current trucks take?

How Long will it take to build Lat 32 and what will it cost?

What will the outer harbour cost to build?

How many more Kms of road need to be built for Lat 32 to work?

Does Lat 32 increase truck miles or decrease truck miles i.e, pollution, emissions?

What do the people of the areas that are effected by Lat 32 think of the Fremantles/Cockburn plan to push Lat 32?

Questions, questions, but no real answers for us to make informed decisions with.

The State government and main roads certainly have lots of info to give out, including future modeling of what happens with PFL and without PFL being built.

Perhaps asking these questions and getting answers will lead to another solution not currently on the table and will be more agreeable to the community as a whole.

What ever happens, we will have to live with the impacts of whatever is decided for decades.

So with the magnitude of this issue it needs to looked at from a level headed point of view taking into account many aspects, including what is missing from the discussion, this is not just a Fremantle issue but one that’s effects the whole greater Perth metro, if not the whole state.


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  1. Its sad that a small minority of people, who are politically motivated, have hijacked this project. The Labor and Greens party in this state have stated their unwillingness to have the Roe8/9 and PFL link established. It is in their policy NOT to go ahead with these projects. So, unfortunately you will not get any willingness for them to listen or see another option, other than their, ‘build a new port option’.

    I would rather see the whole picture of change come out and I think that your thinking allowed article put forward a good viewpoint that the council should remove itself from State Govt politics and focus on trying to have some input into the process. The messages I get is that they are washing their hands of the City of Fremantle.

    I don’t see the State Government letting up on this project. The funding is there. Now they have even stated that the State component will be on-sold as an investment. So realistically the State Government funding portion isn’t going to cost anything. The cost of the project has somehow increased from $1.6 bil to $2 bil. Again, more misinformation.

    There are certainly a lot of people in the Fremantle area who DO want to see this project going forward. Who can realistically see the reason for the increase in road infrastructure and realistically take the view that these roads are needed and we should proceed with this in an informed and orderly fashion.

    Its pretty dumb and immature to keep calling it a road to nowhere (3 word slogans), short sighted, poor planning, and other simplistic terms. Usually the people resorting to this type of negative spin are the least informed, least experienced and with the biggest mouths, or soapbox.

    The government, department of transport, and minister are probably the best informed and have the resources to asses this project better than anyone. They have access to paid experts, engineers and companies specialising in large engineering and road building. Massive civil construction and engineering. They also have access to State planning departments and teams of professional planners. Does anyone honestly believe that this is being built as some sort of ego trip? Please. The road reserve, as you so eloquently stated, isn’t a nature strip, it has been earmarked for a road for at least 50 years. Lets just all get on with it and finally move the project forward.

    • Mark says:

      Without a solution for Stirling Hwy, the Canning Rd intersection and the Tydeman rd treatment it fails to solve the issues in front of us.
      Plus we still need to know if its a Stock rd, High St, or a WGV under tunnel?

      • We only know whats getting fed via the media. I don’t doubt there is a plan, but as you said in the article, we have to wait for the tenders to come back in. There would be an enormous amount of variables with this project. Its looking as though they might tunnel under the river and pop up in the port and have a road leading into it from Tydeman road.

        But as you have stated, we actually need all the information and I don’t doubt that some of that is being deliberately held back until a full and clear picture comes out. They have already stated that Roe9 wont get built yet, but Roe8 will. So there’s still a lot of ambiguity and a lot of people are getting very far in front of themselves.

        Also, the Town of Cottesloe isn’t buying into the negative propaganda and will probably not vote against the project. Which was good to see.

    • freoishome says:

      It would be pleasing to see a balanced debate about this topic which is about Freight Traffic, more than that specifically about freight traffic to FPA.

      For decades the solution supported by all, (in essence that is what CUSP also concluded), has been based on building a new container harbour at Kwinana. No case has been put to delay that, but the case for actioning it has been put repeatedly. Why is the Transport Dept and Minister silent on that? Where is the balanced debate about now slotting in this new project, which even the Coalition are saying is stop gap. On the surface it doesn’t add up at the social level for resolving community issues, financially and even for the trucking having a toll isn’t motivating, even in outline the plan is incomplete.

      It would be interesting to have a balanced debate from within the Transport Dept, eg, say Freight on Rail vs Freight on Roads, for resolving a) the short term need and b) the long term. But that is hardly likely to happen because the Transport Dept is heavily biased towards MRWA, in numbers in every dept. That in itself says something, Roads need enormous overheads, Rail doesn’t.

      • Martin says:


        I am against the PFL in its current form.

        However, the CUSP proposal involves building far more 4-lane roads than the PFL, involves approximately 15km longer truck journeys than from the existing port, and doesn’t take any trucks off the road because the only place set up for receiving containers by rail is Kewdale – the rest goes by road.

        The CUSP proposal does not reduce the number of truck freight kilometres – it increases it. …just in somebody else’s backyard.

        The Latitude 32 project requires the Roe 8 link because otherwise trucks from Kwinana will not be able to get to Canningvale, etc, except via the airport or the Kwinana Fwy car park. It is all laid out in the Latitude 32 Project description, not that CUSP want you to read it.

        Unless you close the Freo Port, the amount of trucks travelling to Freo will continue to increase by another 60% up to 2022. How does a second port take trucks out of Freo? It doesn’t – it may delay the time for Freo Port to reach capacity, but the trucks problem will continue to grow in Freo. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

        Nobody wants more trucks, or roads. Unfortunately rail will not come to Freo’s rescue in this case, and nor will it solve the freight task for the greater Perth area.

        Freight by rail works best when the distance transported is large. The Latitude 32 rail / truck interchange was primarily intended for interstate rail traffic, not for delivering freight around Perth metro area – another thing CUSP doesn’t want you to understand.

        There is a big difference between an “expert” in commentating on transport policy and trends, and an “expert” in traffic and transport engineering. One is a humanities topic, while the other involves a 4 year engineering degree. What technical qualifications do our experts at CUSP actually have in this field? Judging by their report, not much!

        The hysterical anti-PFL rhetoric is not helping the balanced debate you are hoping for. If there is a better compromise, there is a fair chance it will elude us if the current nonsense continues.


        • Mark says:

          Martin like normal good points based on logic
          Again you have decided to let the facts get in the way of a really good story.
          I think the report that the Fremantle council blew $20,000.00 on has a few holes if you bring real facts into it?
          That’s why I would like to see a real fact discussion with true experts from both sides and in between and real data put up for true analysis not just cheap political flag waving.
          What amazes me is the whole report only spoke about trucks when the real issue is cars and how they interact with trucks. The real volume is cars not trucks, so we have a report which appears to actually avoids the real issue, not bad for $20,000 of rare payers money.
          Strangely most rate payers drive cars not trucks, and cars seem to be increasing faster than the trucks, so why would the report not involve cars and their impact???????
          My god these facts can really make a mess of a good story?

        • freoishome says:

          In a normal well designed town plan, unlike Perth, all of the functions of a port would take place on site. However, that is far from the case with the current Freo Port. The Kewdale transport Hub is doing a massive part of that, as are the 10-12 Break Bulk companies that operate south of Freo. On top of that I estimate just from casual observation that a 1/3rd of the HGV traffic movements on Tydeman road are just containers being shifted from the western to the eastern side of North Mole and visa versa.

          Given that scenario, we need to design a new harbour that has greater capability to do normal port functions within its boundaries, but the need to transport hundreds of containers/day to Kewdale and probably other large Transport Hub will still remain. That requirement won’t meet the efficiency that rail enjoys from long haul, but it will meet the social and non HGV transport needs of Perth, in a healthier way, also relieving the pressure on roads for use by cars and local HGV transport needs.

          Most of the problems exist due to the dilly dallying of successive State Gov’t on getting on with building the Kwinana port. The longer the delay, the worse the situation becomes and the greater the animosity and frustration the electorate feels towards the incumbent gov’t. At the last State election, for the first time in many years Transport was a key election issue, and it will again be so. The first gov’t to make the decision to build the harbour based on freight rail, and hence relieve the pressure on the current road system will earn a lot of kudos!

          The role of the current Freo Harbour will change significantly once the new harbour is built. It will retain liners and specialist needs, but bulk freight will be elsewhere. That will release a significant areas no longer required for Port Ops for other uses, like residential and recreational use.

          • Mark says:

            Paul I think you are missing the point the truck aren’t the ones that are clogging the roads its cars.
            Adding 1000’s more cars to the mix with residential will not solve the issue in Nth Freo
            Stirling Hwy I don”t see many trucks at all, but MacCabe st residents complain regularly about the traffic with cars. Hence their comments about density being to great now and concerns of the future.
            So I don’t think adding thousands more to a confined area with a restricted road network and no road treatments to solve these issues, will help at all.
            From what I have read the outer port will not take all container traffic, but freo will continue to take a similar amount of containers as it does now, that was even in the CUSP report.
            Adding thousands of People to Nth Freo with no jobs close by, just adds to the problem of traffic surely the idea would to have more people working close to where they live, otherwise how will we ever increase bike, pedestrian and PT use?
            The easier fix for the truck congestion issue is to have more of them transporting at night or from 10pm to 5 am, would help that issue greatly at no real cost. The trucks would also have less stop starts at the time of the evening. With less cars for trucks to interact with, it would also be safer, no kids crossing roads etc.

            The big issue is where will the billions come from to build the new port and links to Tonkin Hwy?
            The billions to make a new road network for the new port system?
            The billions to develop the rail system to make lat 32 work?
            As the truck trips are longer than the Freo trip, how many extra trucks will we need?
            How long will the new port be held back by the environmental groups who will just move their protest to Kwinana, and what about the opinion of the people down that way who may not want a bigger port in their area?

          • freoishome says:

            Mark how can I be missing the point discussing the Perth Freight Link, with suggestions about container movement? This is not about the Perth car link to Fremantle Port?

            Without doubt there is a different issue with different solution alternatives if discussing Car usage.

            I like your idea to increase HGV movements overnight. So long as they use the HGV designated route along Stock Rd to Leach as it was established to do, rather than Hampton Rd.

            As far as the general issue about Perth’s overall growth, I have suggested many times, stopping WA’s planning being so one eyed, ie, Perth Centric. WA has 2.6million km2; Perth, even with its current sprawl uses less than 1000km2 and cannot remain all things, to all, in perpetuity. So lets start the conversation about where to build WA’s next two Metros of 500,000 each!

            Am I missing the point on this aspect as well?


          • Mark says:

            Paul a couple of issue are getting people to move away from the CDB, suburbs, family, secure jobs, services and not to mention the billions of dollars need to do it. Our short election cycle to achieve such goals, our sensationalist media, the self interest groups, etc, etc, Its not a bad idea, but Queenslands one developed a little more naturally than what you are proposing.
            Finding 1/2 million people to live up north would be a challenge to start with, without massive incentives, so providing we have endless funding it should work.
            The current governments struggles to provide services as it is you are proposing to triple needed infrastructure, 2 more Fiona Stanleys, schools, water, electricity roads fire, police the list is endless. country towns struggle to a doctor now.
            I must be missing the aspect on where the money is coming from?

          • freoishome says:

            Mark it is only this scale of thinking that will trigger all the things you mention. The Money For Regions idea hasn’t delivered a great deal because it is far too small to make development in the regions viable. They don’t have the workforce, the industrial support, like brick factories, pre fabrication plant for roofing, etc.

            If 500km2 was ear marked for development, every builder in the country would be clamouring to build. With virtually no restrictions and conflict that we live with everyday in Perth, they would be in heaven. Land releases at the scale would probably be $100K cheaper/block. There would no shortage of buyers.

          • They tried this at Ravensthorpe didn’t they and that had a mine. When the mine closed, so did the town, pretty much. There is plenty of cheap, newly built housing there, some of it hasn’t even been used.

            There has to be a source of commerce and trade. That’s the point Mark is making. Where will the money come from to support the town? Pay the mortgages? Feed the kids? It cannot sit there and rely on government handouts as they just aren’t there.

            Developers will build infrastructure, schools, shopping centres, etc, for an area, as it will be part of the incentive to develop and make a profit. But they have to develop the blocks, then people have to come and build on them. There has to be work available so people can pump their wages back into the local economy.

  2. Jerry Fay says:

    Can not say I like what I have heard about the PFL so far. Though I like your articles here and in the Herald.
    You may be wasting your time trying to bring a sensible fact based discussion into the political elite in Fremanlte?
    Many of them are so sure of their own opinion they can no longer differentiate between fact and fiction.
    I love you trying to bring rational to the irrational, it will be fun to watch but painful to attempt.

    Looking forward to seeing more information on the issues not just the political rhetoric.
    It is no wonder our poor old Fremantle is in the state it is.
    Good luck you will need it!

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