$30b plans with 'mega' logistics hub revealed
A SINGING grandfather who is a veteran of the transport industry plans to transform Gladstone into a "mega" logistics hub.
In town for an industry briefing yesterday, Inter-Port Global chief executive Des Euen shared his vision to develop a container hub at the State Development Area, near Mount Larcom.
The $30 billion project, expected to take a decade to build, includes extending the inland rail from Toowoomba to Gladstone and building an international business centre next to the container hub.
Mr Euen spruiked his proposal, promising to create long-term jobs and economic security for the region, to Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan yesterday.
Feeling confident after the meeting, Mr Euen, who has worked in the transport industry since he was a truck driver in his teens, said he had the support of the three levels of government.
"I have a team behind me, which is well known to the Australian Government. We've done work with the defence force and other departments," he said.
"We come to the table with a very select, very efficient and professional group of experts."
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the project supported the State Government-owned port's 50-year plan to expand into containerisation.
"This is just another chink in the Gladstone Port's armour if we can get containerisation kicking off," he said.
"There is a huge amount of jobs in containerisation, unlike the LNG industry where there is a lot of automation, this is hands on labour, you need the crane and fork lift drivers."
Mr Butcher said significant investment within the Gladstone Port's facilities and equipment would be needed for the expansion into the new market.
Backing Mr Euen's plans, Senator Canavan said the long-term vision for Gladstone must be as a logistics, resource and manufacturing hub.
"Gladstone has a great port and good transport links, and if we can make those links better there's no reason more freight, including general freight not just bulk commodities, can't be distributed from this part of the world," he said.
Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan has identified container exports as a potential growth area as the company shifts its focus to diversifying.
Mr O'Sullivan said he would continue to work closely with representatives from new and potential industries, with the aim of generating jobs and supporting the economy.
Mr Euen said he wanted government approval before the end of the year. On April 12 he will return to Gladstone to speak at the GEA Supply Chain Expo.
Mr Euen has previously had controversial port expansion plans at Yamba in NSW, which some local politicians labelled as "pie in the sky" ideas.