With the advent of containerization in the late 1950s it became clear that Sydney would require additional port facilities to cater for new cargo types. In the 1960s the government agency responsible for ports, the NSW Maritime Services Board, recommended that a new port complex be developed in the northern part of Botany Bay adjacent to Sydney Airport. The New South Wales Government endorsed the proposal in 1969 and in 1971 work commenced on two container terminals to the north, and a bulk liquid wharf and storage area to the south.
The northernmost container terminal was completed in 1979 and officially opened by then-Premier Neville Wran who christened it Brotherson Dock in memory of former Maritime Services Board chairman Bill Brotherson who had died in 1975. The terminal was initially leased to Australian shipping company ANL but was transferred to Patrick Corporation in the 1990s. In 2006 the Patrick Corporation merged with Toll Holdings.
The southern container terminal opened in 1982, christened Brotherson Dock Two and leased to the newly-formed stevedore company Container Terminals Australia (CTAL). Despite both terminals being of equal size and quay length, Brotherson Dock Two struggled to compete with its northern neighbour. In its first full year of operation, Brotherson Two handled just 91,000 containers with a berth occupancy rate of 40 percent. In the 1990s CTAL ceased operations and the terminal lease was onsold to shipping company P&O. In 2006 P&O was purchased by Dubai Ports.