ALC backs Infrastructure Victoria’s port capacity advice


Recommendations made for road network improvements and further scoping of existing freight projects

ALC backs Infrastructure Victoria’s port capacity advice
Infrastructure Victoria sees no immediate need for a second major container port in the state.

 

Infrastructure Victoria recommends optimising capacity at the state's existing commercial ports before investing in a second major container port.

In its Advice for securing Victoria’s port capacity report, Infrastructure Victoria suggests the state will not need the second major container port until the Port of Melbourne reaches roughly 8 million TEU – which is expected to happen around 2055.

The report includes recommendations to guide the state government through ports planning and investment decisions based on an examination of social, environmental and economic benefits and impacts of ports development.

The 19 recommendations made in the report are based around six key themes:

  • monitor and publicly report on key port related indicators
  • optimise the capacity of existing ports
  • understand the variables that may alter planning timelines
  • preserve long-term port options
  • baseline and monitor environmental conditions
  • optimise governance of Victorian ports.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says it "broadly agrees" with Infrastructure Victoria’s advice.

ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says Infrastructure Victoria’s advice reflects ALC’s submission that stated the Port of Melbourne should be able to operate "as efficiently as possible for as long as possible".

"We are pleased that this is essentially what Infrastructure Victoria has recommended to the Victorian Government."

He adds that necessary infrastructure including a port-rail shuttle must be not be delayed because of a non-pressing need for the second major port in Victoria.

"The fact that a second container port has been mooted for operation post-2055, should not prevent much-needed infrastructure, such as the port rail shuttle, from being planned, financed and built as soon as practicable."

The new report points to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy that called for upgrades to the road network, particularly bridges, to accommodate heavier axle loads.

It suggests new freeway projects should be built to 109 tonne standards to help in improving truck efficiency.

It notes that improvement works on Bolte Bridge to allow access to high productivity freight vehicles to "at least 77 tonnes and potentially 85.5 tonnes" can also result in increased truck efficiency.

"An upgrade of the Bolte Bridge could yield greater efficiency and would need to address related network access issues so a weight limit restriction nearby does not compromise access," the report notes.

Infrastructure Victoria recommends further assessment and planning of the Inland Rail and the Western Interstate Freight Terminal projects.

It suggests both these projects have the potential to improving supply chain productivity while increasing volume of rail transport from Victorian ports and reducing the number of number of truck movements in inner Melbourne.

"They [the project] could assist by reducing the amount of non-port rail activity near the port and the number of trains using the key rail junctions near the port," the report notes.

The state government has 12 months to respond to the report.

"During this period, ALC will continue to advocate that the recent lease of the Port of Melbourne should ensure it has an operational life of 50 years," Kilgariff says.

"Significant long-term investments made by those in the freight logistics industry must be respected and supported by all governments."

"We also look forward to the Victorian Government’s response to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30 Year Infrastructure Strategy, which incorporated practical measures such as protecting freight precincts, improving rail access at the Port of Melbourne and progressing the Western Interstate freight terminal.

ALC suggests Infrastructure Australia and the federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development should work closely with both the state government and Infrastructure Victoria "to ensure we obtain the best possible outcomes for the Port of Melbourne and the national freight logistics industry".

"ALC likewise hopes that Infrastructure Victoria’s advice will be closely considered by the Federal Government as development work continues on the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

"Australia is a single national economy, and the efficiency of the Port of Melbourne is an important national economic consideration."

Read the full report here.

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