Westgate unveils plan to beat port congestion

Westgate Ports claims its port reform proposal will reduce traffic on arterial roads and create jobs in Melbourne's south-east

By Ruza Zivkusic | October 26, 2010

Westgate Ports (WP) has put a proposal to the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) claiming a restructure will reduce traffic on arterial roads and create jobs in Melbourne’s south-east.

In response to PoMC’s discussion paper, WP Executive Chairman Sam Tarascio says the proposal will "feed a pipeline of development at Altona, providing an employment generator that could create many thousands of jobs".

The paper was open for submissions from the community until September on managing Melbourne’s container trade demand.

Tarascio believes truck movements around the Port of Melbourne and on major arterial roads will ease if the proposal is adopted.

The submission outlines plans to deliver cost savings to the government and offer direct benefits to port users and the community around the port.

Tarascio says the proposal "encapsulates a vision at Victoria Dock that accords with the changing dynamics of sea freight today while still maintaining the activities initiated in 2004 when the company first acquired its lease at Victoria Dock".

"This is a plan for the future of Port of Melbourne," Tarascio says.

"It encompasses an entire inland ports strategy linking hubs at Altona in the west and Lyndhurst in the south-east via road and rail to the Port of Melbourne.

"If adopted, this proposal would feed a pipeline of development at Altona, providing an employment generator that could create many thousands of jobs.

"It is also in line with the Federal Government’s guidelines for the future of freight transport, providing the ability for increased automation and scalability for high efficiency within the logistics industry."

The proposal addresses issues such as movement of freight around Victoria, dealing with the volume growth of the Port of Melbourne and reducing truck traffic in metropolitan Melbourne.

WP recommends a restructure of the existing facilities in the Swanston, Appleton and Victoria Docks (SAVD) precinct to free up land in the area for the handling of containers, combined with the relocation of secondary activities to Webb Dock.

It proposes plans for the integration of the docks precinct with the development of Victoria’s metropolitan freight terminal network.

"Containers will be moved from the SAVD precinct to the hubs by high efficiency rail and road links," Tarascio says.

"This will lead directly to a decrease in the number of truck movements on the roads surrounding the Port of Melbourne," he adds.

He believes the relocation of secondary activities to Webb Dock will decrease truck movements between the SAVD precinct and Webb Dock.

"Our proposal maximises the returns on government and private investment into road and rail infrastructure, as well as capitalising on the recent upgrades to the Port of Melbourne."

Meanwhile, trucking tycoon Lindsay Fox has called for shipping containers to be shifted out of the city to make it easier for trucks to deliver goods.

PoMC was asked to comment.

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