On-dock rail to be built at Port of Melbourne

By Country News

Victorian exporters will benefit from a on-dock rail to be built at the Port of Melbourne.

Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne approved a proposal on January 30 by Port of Melbourne Operations, which will see an investment of $125 million in new rail infrastructure.

“The Port of Melbourne is a vital part of our multi-billion dollar export sector and agriculture supply chain and on-dock rail will make its operations more efficient for Victorian exporters – removing congestion at the port gate,” Ms Horne said.

“This will cut costs for regional exporters and increase the competitiveness of Victorian industry-creating local jobs.”

The on-dock rail plan is part of the Labor Government’s work to continue driving the economic success of the port, and will push to improve rail freight across Victoria by shifting freight transport from trucks to trains.

The Labor Government said the on-dock rail would allow importers to use rail to move containers to distribution centres around Melbourne.

The project will be funded by a $9.75 per 20-foot equivalent unit charge on imported containers, but will not apply to exporters from the port.

An industry roundtable will provide the ports industry an opportunity to give feedback on a draft report and recommendations of an independent review.

VFF president David Jochinke said he cautiously supported the development, as the Murray Basin Rail Project remained under uncertainty.

“The government must keep their promise and deliver the project as per the original business case,” he said.

“Standardising and increasing capacity of Victoria’s regional rail freight lines is essential to the viability and success of the agricultural industry.

“If government can find the funds for on-dock rail, they can find the money to complete the Murray Basin Rail Project.”

The project is scheduled for completion in 2023.