The government of Western Australia (WA) has announced plans to imminently sell the Fremantle port, its largest and busiest general cargo port.
The government will sell the port in an effort to maintain its AAA credit rating by reducing its debt, which is expected to reach $30 billion by 2018.
The government had also announced other minor privatisations which could raise up to $6 billion by 2017, but this is the first time that WA plans to sell one of the state's major ports and utilities.
In 2013-14, Fremantle Ports earned $44.9 million for the Government of WA through income tax equivalents and dividends. Total port trade was 33.36 million mass tonnes, with a value of more than $28.4 billion.
Fremantle port consists of the Inner Harbour, which is situated on the mouth of the Swan River; the Outer Harbour, which is 20 km south at Kwinana in Cockburn Sound and handles bulk cargo ports, grain, petroleum, liquefied petroleum gas, alumina, mineral sands, fertilisers, sulphur and other bulk commodities; and Gage Roads which is the anchorage between Rottnest Island and the mainland.
The Inner Harbour includes northern and southern wharves named North Quay and Victoria Quay respectively. All of this area is managed by the Fremantle Port Authority, a government trading enterprise.