The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed contracts being signed by the Victorian Government with WSP and Seymour Whyte Constructions for the design and early contract works for the Port Rail Construction Project.
The $125 million project will create productivity and efficiency improvements for operators servicing the Port of Melbourne by reducing road congestion in and out of the Port through diversification of how freight is transported over the last mile.
“The VTA has long advocated for greater productivity gains at the Port to make it an even more competitive destination for importers and exporters of freight,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson.
“Investing in rail in and out of the Port will make transporting freight from distribution centres an even more seamless undertaking, helping to reduce pressure on the road network for motorists and road transport operators whose freight cannot be brought into the Port via rail.
“It is important to note this project is not about a net reduction in freight for road transport operators because attaining productivity and efficiency gains will enable the Port of Melbourne to attract greater volumes of freight, which is good news for road, rail and sea freight operators.
“As I often say, ships, planes and trains carry freight but only trucks deliver,” said Anderson.
According to the Victorian Government, the works will include a new rail terminal interfacing with the container terminal at East Swanson Dock. Site investigations will begin in March with construction expected to commence in July. The project is set to be completed in 2023.
Upon signing the contracts, Victorian Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne said the Government is also supporting the Port Rail Shuttle Network connecting freight hubs in Melbourne’s west, north and south east to the port, new intermodal terminals planned at Truganina and Beveridge, and improvements in the regional rail freight network.
The VTA also welcomed the creation of Ports Victoria, bringing together the Victorian Regional Channels Authority and Victorian Ports Corporation (Melbourne).
“It makes sense to consolidate the operations of our ports and waterways bureaucracies, as recommended by the Independent Review of the Victorian Ports System,” said Anderson. “We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders from the ports sector to help Victoria and the Port of Melbourne retain its position as the premier destination for freight.”