A site has been selected for Perth’s replacement container port — but the $4 billion price tag and the 2032 timeline for the major project are at risk of blowing out. Westport will be built adjacent to the existing Kwinana Bulk Terminal in a phased process to keep the jetty operational throughout construction. Premier Roger Cook and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced the chosen site on Wednesday, unveiling plans to widen stretches of Kwinana Freeway, Anketell Road and Roe Highway and build a new intermodal terminal at Kewdale. The existing Kenwick and Forrestfield intermodal terminals – which allow freight to be transferred from trucks onto rail – will be upgraded. A new breakwater in Kwinana will protect vessels docked at Westport. The former McGowan Government pledged to transition container freight from Fremantle to a new land-backed port in the Kwinana industrial area by 2032 at an estimated cost of around $4 billion. The final business case for Westport — which will reveal both timings and the ultimate price — is due in mid-2024. But under questioning, Ms Saffioti conceded there was now doubt over both the timeframe and cost of the critical coastal infrastructure. “We’re revisiting all aspects of the budget,” Ms Saffioti said. “That ($4b) budget was done before COVID, before the supply chain issues and also things like the breakwater (were added to the scope).” While confirming Westport may not be online until after 2032, Ms Saffioti rejected the suggestion the long-planned project was already suffering setbacks. “They’re not blowouts,” she said. “We’re basically saying that we will outline the project’s full cost and operational aspects in July (in the business case), as we should.” Wednesday’s announcement also brought confirmation the Cook Government favoured moving all container trade from Fremantle to Westport in one step. Ms Saffioti said the second option, a phased approach that slowly shifted freight from Fremantle and Kwinana into the mid-2040s, was far more expensive and logistically challenging. “That might mean we take a little bit longer getting this port operational, but it means that from an operational point of view, it was seen as much more cost-effective,” she said. The decision to build a new port in Kwinana followed a two-year investigation by the Westport Taskforce, concluding that constraints in the traffic network servicing Fremantle meant it was likely to reach operational capacity by the middle of the next decade. Government modelling released last year found container trade volumes at Fremantle Port are conservatively expected to double by 2050 and could reach up to five times their current level by 2070. While all container trade will be moved to Kwinana, Ms Saffioti said a decision has not been reached on “roll-on/roll-off” freight, such as motor vehicles. “What we’re now looking at is relocating over the next 20 to 30 years into North Quay (in Fremantle) as well as supporting potentially Bunbury (Port),” Ms Saffioti said. “We’re doing that detailed analysis, and they are the two models that are very much being looked at.” The chosen site avoids impacting existing Synergy power plants and Water Corporation’s desalination plant. The Cook Government’s vision is for land in inner Fremantle to be freed up through the movement of container trade to Kwinana to be redeveloped for residential and commercial use. Fremantle Port will continue to welcome cruise ships and visiting naval and recreational vessels.