Speculation surrounds the situation of Patrick’s stevedoring business in Australia with the suggestion the operation may sell up to 50 per cent, or even 100 per cent, of the port operator to a Chinese investor. The company is currently part of Asciano, the entity formed after the takeover of Patrick by Toll nearly ten years ago.
Asciano is said to be looking to gain a foothold in the Chinese container market and selling half of its interest in the only Australian owned major port business would allow it to grow in China with a significant partner, reckoned to be an operation called China Merchants.
Globally, most major stevedoring operators now have a presence in China. For Asciano to be considered among the major players it will need to demonstrate its presence in the fastest growing freight economy, namely China.
According to a report in the Australian, Asciano are hoping to get over $1 billion for the sale of half of Patrick. These funds will go towards the company’s planned expansion in China and other areas, in partnership with China Merchants.
At the same time as speculation around Patrick is in the news, a major shake-up in the management of another port operator, Hutchison Ports, has been precipitated, as the current CEO, Stephen Gumley, announced his departure. Hutchison has recently begun stevedoring operations in both Sydney and Brisbane ports, but failed to get the contract to operate out of Webb Dock in Melbourne.