Operators object to ALP Link threat

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Show us your alternative plan, firms in Melbourne’s west say

Operators object to ALP Link threat
Industry says there needs to be another river crossing


Transport operators in Melbourne’s west have slammed the State ALP’s plans to ditch the East West Link (EWL) should Labor be elected in November, saying the freight task is already suffering from poor infrastructure.

Container carrier Rocke Brothers moves around 84,000 TEUs each year. Its managing director, Paul Rocke, says congestion costs the business huge amounts annually.

Rocke believes an alternative solution is needed if the project doesn’t go ahead.

"On our subcontractor cost, we’d be delayed 50 hours a day on the M1 on 50 trucks," Rocke says.

"This costs us over $1 million of extra cost a year because of the state of our roads.

"Our roads just can’t cope if they don’t give us some alternative.

"People talk about public transport and moving people off the road but I don’t know how successful that’ll be; most traffic is single car movement.

"People are moving back towards the city and our industry is moving out to the suburbs, so to get the freight out to the suburbs something has to be done."

Tasman Logistics transport and warehousing general manager Ivan Vanis says the company is already obeying truck curfews on residential streets which coupled with congestion makes it hard to move freight efficiently.

"With the East West Link potentially coming in, that’s going to solve a lot of problems for the local residents we’re always fighting with," Vanis says.

"This is the downfall with it not coming in; if they’re not going ahead with it they’re still going to have a problem with local residents and with the container volumes growing the way they are, you’re going to have more trucks on local roads.

"Our message to the residents is to put the hard word on the government to move on with the East West Link.

"We have to use those roads to get to our depots and to our clients in western suburbs."

Silk Contract Logistics managing director Brendan Boyd says the company is carrying freight at night to the eastern suburbs in order to escape congestion.

"Effectively we service the south-east of Melbourne during night because the current infrastructure just does not support efficient operations from this side of town," Boyd says.

"There’s a cost to running night time operation but we have to do that because that cost is still less than having guys sitting in traffic on freeways that are congested from one end to another."

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