Hutchison opens SICT and looks to break Australian duopoly

Hutchison opens SICT and looks to break Australian duopoly
HPH's Sydney International Container Terminal

The possibility of Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) and International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) becoming involved in a new joint venture on Australia’s east coast, has been raised by HPH Australian chief executive, Stephen Gumley.

Speaking to the The Australian at the opening of Sydney’s second container terminal, he said that he plans to offer a “compelling value proposition,” which he hopes will break the duopoly of Patrick, which holds 57% of the Australian market, according to IBIS World, and DP World, which holds 42%.

However, spokespeople for both ICTSI and Hutchison were cautious, with Hutchison saying there had been no talks and that it would not comment on whether there will be in the future.

Similarly, a spokesperson for ICTSI said: “There have been merger and acquisition discussions in the past and there are open lines of communication; however, there has been no specific discussion on any joint-venture in Australia.”

Together, ICTSI and HPH operate terminals in all three major ports.  ICTSI recently beat Hutchison to the contract to operate a new freight terminal in the Webb Dock facility in Melbourne.  Hutchison opened a terminal in Brisbane earlier this year and, on July 24, opened the new Aus$300 m (US$282m) Sydney International Container Terminal.

Dr Gumley told The Australian: “Our current customers are happy to use one band of stevedoring in Sydney, another in Brisbane and another in Melbourne. It will play out and it is very early days.”

“The important thing is that there are three operators in each port,” he said, “if there’s three competitors we would like to have a third of the market as soon as possible.”

Michale Kilgariff, managing director of the Australian Logistics Council, said Hutchison’s entry into the market will make it “very competitive”.

Gumley said that Hutchison would beat the competition by offering a more efficient and productive service which would include stacking cranes.

Sydney’s new terminal covers 26 ha and doubles the capacity of the port; further expansion of Port Botany is set to be completed in 2015.

ICTSI said that its Webb Dock facility should be open by January 2017.