Full Steam Ahead For On-Dock Rail
The Andrews Labor Government is getting more freight onto trains and taking trucks off local roads with the approval of new on-dock rail to be built at the Port of Melbourne.
Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne today approved a proposal by Port of Melbourne Operations that will see an investment of $125 million in new rail infrastructure.
The on-dock rail plan is part of the Labor Government’s work to continue driving the economic success of the port, which currently contributes $6 billion to the Victorian economy each year and is a crucial part of the state’s agriculture supply chain.
Improving rail access to the Port of Melbourne is a legislated condition of its lease – with its delivery part of a wider push to improve rail freight across Victoria.
The Labor Government is also supporting the Port Rail Shuttle Network connecting freight hubs in Melbourne’s north and west to the port, new intermodal terminals planned at Truganina and Beveridge, new automated signalling for faster rail freight to Geelong Port and improvements in the regional rail freight network.
On-dock rail will make rail transport more competitive, cut the high cost of the ‘last mile’ and reduce truck congestion at the port gate – a big win for Victorian exporters delivering goods to the Port of Melbourne.
It will also allow importers to use rail to move containers to distribution centres around Melbourne efficiently.
To make on-dock rail possible, the Port of Melbourne will introduce a $9.75 per twenty-foot equivalent unit charge on imported containers. The funds raised from the charge will directly deliver new sidings and connections for the rail project.
The charge keeps the port competitive with Port Botany and won’t apply to exporters from the port.
The Government will closely monitor the progress of the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2023, and keep looking at ways improve port pricing and access – keeping Victoria’s regional exports cost-competitive and growing the state’s economy.
An industry roundtable happening today is giving the ports industry an opportunity to provide feedback on a draft report and recommendations of an independent review into these issues to help form its response.