Container Ports Post-Privatisation – Analysis of the Roles of the Public and Private Sectors at Port Botany, Sydney
Journal article, 2022

The evidence base evaluating post-privatised commercial ports is virtually non-existent, especially with respect to sustainability and environmental performance. Despite acknowledged methodological limitations, a case study approach is adopted using Port Botany, Australia, as an example of a “privatised” port. In the post-privatisation period from 2013, we examine the respective roles of the public and private sectors in terms of legislation, policies and practice. How has NSW Ports responded to challenges of sustainability and environmental regulation within the port’s jurisdiction? to what extent have governments continued to be involved in planning and investment in the logistics chain to support the import and export of containers? and what are the relative costs to the private sector and the government to achieve more efficiency? The methodology involves material retrieved from websites, government and company reports, and discussions with key informants to verify the factual robustness of our findings. The findings show that the pre-privatisation environmental and regulatory framework has been effective, and that NSW Ports have been part of an Australian-wide ports initiative to implement best practice on climate change, and on economic, social and environmental sustainability countering claims in the literature that privatised ports put shareholder’s profits before the “greening” of ports. Despite Port Botany being privatised, Governments continue to enhance the efficiency of the logistical supply chain through policies and investment in transport access to the port via inland intermodal terminals.

Port Botany

intermodal terminals

port privatisation

ex-post evaluation

public and private sector roles


construction costs


John Black

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Violeta Roso

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Service Management and Logistics

Case Studies on Transport Policy

2213-624X (ISSN)

Vol. 10 2 1438-1452

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics



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7/2/2022 1