Key challenges in the port sector include tight timeframes for port extensions to meet rising export and import demands particularly from the resources sector; improved planning for ports, including revised governance arrangements and achievement of more certain and predictable outcomes from planning activities; dealing with urban encroachment at ports and related transport corridors; providing the community and industry with greater certainty on longer term port development plans and resolving port land side-issues, including responsibility for upgrading land side links.

MinterEllison has had a long, successful involvement in the management of port operations and associated major infrastructure projects. Our experts can assist with regulatory requirements, port restructuring, tenure, environment and planning, native title, competition and access considerations, construction and infrastructure development, user charges and common user infrastructure, dredging and large capital investments and multi or single user ports.

We have a highly developed skill-set that spans all Australian jurisdictions and numerous locations throughout the Asia Pacific. We have acted for a range of port stakeholders, from port entities and governments to operators, addressing many strategic issues that arose in these roles. Our experience includes many of the flagship projects in this sector.

Acquisition of the Mermaid Marine Supply Base from MMA Offshore

Advised Toll in relation to its strategic acquisition from MMA Offshore of the Mermaid Marine supply base and logistics supply base business for approximately $44 million. The acquisition of assets included property leases, inventory, plant and equipment, leased equipment and statutory licences.

Port Kembla Harbour Expansion

Advised Port Kembla Port Corporation in relation to its project to expand the cargo handling facilities at Port Kembla. The project involved the expansion of cargo handling facilities, redevelopment of the terminal and construction of a new wharf which required dredging in the Inner Harbour. This transaction was widely considered to establish a new benchmark in transaction preparation and execution.

Port of Melbourne Channel Deepening Project

Advised Port of Melbourne Channel Deepening, one of the largest infrastructure projects conducted by the Victorian Government in recent times, seen as critical to the Port and Australia's position in global shipping. As key advisers to the Port of Melbourne Corporation, we advised on many aspects of the project, including the Supplementary Environmental Effects Statement and managed the public hearing process Federal Court litigation over the Federal Government's environmental approval for the dredging, cultural and Aboriginal heritage issues, relocation of essential infrastructure under the Yarra River, the resolution of the alliance dredging contract, and land tenure issues relating to land assets affected by the project.

Expansion of Kooragang and Carrington Coal Terminals

Acting for Port Waratah Coal Services Limited (a privately owned facility, the largest shareholder of which is Rio Tinto Coal Australia Limited) in the redevelopment and expansion of the Kooragang Coal Terminal and the Carrington Coal Terminal in the Port of Newcastle.

Port Capacity Project

Advised the Port of Melbourne Corporation on the procurement and transactional aspects of Melbourne's Port Capacity Project. The Port Capacity project will enable the port to meet increasing trade demand and protect the economic future of one of Australia's leading freight gateways.