BUSINESSES in Fremantle’s West End say the arrival of shipping giant MSC into two buildings in Cliff Street is being felt in their tills.
Piccolo’s Cafe owner Christine Breglia says her takings are up $1000 a week while Blink Cafe’s Sergio Guazzelli says he noticed the improvement started during the construction phase.
He says the manager of the project would turn up every morning and help set up the cafe’s chairs outside, while stonemasons helping restore 114-year-old Wilhelmsen House became so enamoured with the shop they carved a limestone coffee cup to add to its quirky decorations.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said MSC’s staff were the first big injection of workers into the West End since Notre Dame opened 20 years agol.
MSC, which is the biggest user of Fremantle port, took four years and spent $14.5 million doing up Wilhelmsen House and building an annex next door.
Although MSC’s business in the region is tied to Fremantle Port, state manager Robert Boyce is unfazed by the political uncertainty surrounding its sale.
He’s confident the port will stay relevant regardless of privatisation, an outer harbour in Kwinana or the Perth Freight Link is built.
“As the port’s biggest user we are very satisfied with the level of service we receive there,” Mr Boyce said.
“MSC is investing in the Australian and New Zealand market and we are here for the long haul,” managing director Kevin Clarke said.
by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM and STEVE GRANT