Australia: Norton Rose Fulbright acts for Qube Holdings on landmark Moorebank freight infrastructure project
Last Updated: 4 February 2017

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has assisted Qube Holdings and its related entities on the development and operation of one of the most important freight infrastructure projects being developed in Australia: the Moorebank intermodal facility in NSW involving the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA), which is owned by Qube Holdings.

In 2015 SIMTA was appointed by the federal government-created Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) as developer and operator of the precinct after a competitive process. SIMTA has committed to build and operate terminals and has development rights for associated warehousing at a total project cost of approximately AU$2 billion.

Stage 1 of the project, which received planning approval in December 2016, will see the construction of the IMEX terminal with initial capacity of 250,000 TEU, rail links to the Southern Sydney Freight Line, and container processing areas. The freight precinct will include the development of 241 hectares of land in Sydney's western corridor to process initially 250,000, and ultimately more than 1 million, import-export freight containers per year; up to an additional 500,000 domestic freight containers; and up to 850,000m2 of warehousing.

The Moorebank intermodal facility will substantially alleviate increasing congestion at Sydney's major sea port at Port Botany and surrounding road network and deliver substantial economic benefits to NSW.

Norton Rose Fulbright advised on the structuring, negotiation and drafting of suites of documentation for arrangements with surrounding landowners to facilitate the construction and operation of a private rail freight line to provide access by way of easements across privately and state-owned land from the existing main freight rail line from Port Botany to the intermodal precinct.

Sydney-based partner and Global head of Real Estate Peter Trevaskis commented:

"The Moorebank intermodal precinct is widely regarded as one of the most important freight infrastructure projects being developed in Australia. Our role in assisting SIMTA to secure access rights over private land to the precinct was fundamental to facilitating the project proceeding in the form and at the scale now intended. We advised on the multi-stage development approval process; environmental and biodiversity aspects; rail access arrangements and development management. Negotiations have involved multiple parties, including MIC; numerous private entities owning adjoining land; the Commonwealth and state government agencies."

Qube project director Michael Yiend commented:

"Planning and structuring this project has been a long time in the making and Norton Rose Fulbright have been an integral part of the team with us throughout that journey. They understand our commercial drivers and worked tirelessly to achieve a high quality outcome for us."

Special counsel Deanne Ogilvie was instrumental in leading the project for Qube. Peter and Deanne were assisted by partners and their teams in specialist areas including: Felicity Rourke, Noni Shannon and Rebecca Pleming (environment and planning); Mark Waddell, Emanuel Confos, Harriet Oldmeadow and Lisa Loi (construction and engineering); Keira Brennan (infrastructure); Aaron Anderson and Danika Casey (occupational health and safety); and Melanie Hunter (debt finance) among others.

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