The plans have been endorsed by the state government of Western Australia (WA).

Freemantle is expected to reach capacity in the mid-2030s, leaving it unable to cope with growing freight movements. The taskforce report recommends the development of a new container terminal at Kwinana supported by rail links and intermodal terminals. Moving container freight to Kwinana by 2032 would also reduce pressure on inner-city roads.

The report found that the existing rail freight corridor to Fremantle would require expansion to handle the larger volumes of freight, including track-doubling, costing an estimated $A 1.4bn ($US 983.2m). A new port at Kwinana, would potentially remove the need for a freight line running through Fremantle, the report says.

An alternative option of increasing the size of the port at Bunbury was held back by the cost of track-doubling the South West main line.

A series of upgrades will need to be made to enable the increase in rail freight to Kwinana. These include track-doubling the line near the Forrestfield Intermodal Terminal, the Cockburn - Kwinana line, and the connection between the Kwinana Triangle and Kwinana marshalling yard. A new line from the Anketell Triangle to the port would also need to be constructed.

The WA government will spend $A 97.2m to progress the options for the future port, including developing a detailed design of rail connections.

WA premier, Mr Mark McGowan, says the decision was about preparing the state for the future. “It is imperative that we plan for Perth’s long-term future, beyond the capacity limits of Fremantle Port and its road and rail links,” he says.

Transport minister, Ms Rita Saffioti, says the state was already supporting getting more freight onto rail. “We have reached our target of 20% of freight onto rail, a record number that translates to 110,000 trucks off our roads each year,” Saffioti says.