‘West Gate Tunnel plan must consider container transport needs'


CTAA, VTA submit recommendations to West Gate Tunnel committee

‘West Gate Tunnel plan must consider container transport needs'
CTAA and VTA underline heavy vehicles requirements during WGT planning.

 

The Container Transport Alliance of Australia (CTAA) and the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) have asked the West Gate Tunnel (WGT) committee to consider the needs of heavy freight vehicles while designing the tunnel.

The transport bodies have highlighted factors such as efficient movement of Higher Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFV) across the tunnel, fair and flexible tolling regime and other freight-related issues in their submissions to the West Gate Tunnel Inquiry and Advisory Committee this week.

CTAA states that the aim of the project should be expanded from its current form to address the inadequate port and freight connections to deal with growth "without creating additional costs to the container supply chain and Victoria’s international competitiveness".

"Container transport rates include a distance calculation based on direct route between transport yards and the port," the CTAA submission notes.

"Following the opening of the West Gate Tunnel (WGT), and subsequent ‘bans’ on inner west direct routes, many container transport companies will be forced to back-track to feeder roads linked to WGT interchanges.

"This additional time/distance, plus any delays at the interchanges, will add cost to the container supply chain.

"In addition, the impost of tolls to the container transport companies may add another 20 per cent to the cost of handling containers between the Port and important logistics centres in Melbourne’s west."

CTAA says whether the tolling structure for WGT "positively discriminates" in favour of the container transport sector will affect Victoria’s international competiveness.

"In particular, the tolling structure should include trip caps, incremental discounts, and day caps. Night and weekend discounts should also apply," CTAA notes.

Meanwhile, VTA recommends the tolling regime to "acknowledge the multiple user and shuttle service providers to the PoM at an agreed threshold of daily movement.

"The transport operator should be eligible for a discount on the current tolling rates that would encourage full usage of the system."

It also recommends additional heavy vehicle classifications to be installed that encompass the inclusion of HPFV.

CTAA director Gerard Langes says although the WGT design will allow up to 2-4 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) heavy commodity export containers to travel on it, there will be "no benefit" to the trucking sector unless similar upgrades were made along freight routes leading to and from the tunnel.

VTA says it is important that the ability to support the movement of HPFV remains in focus, and "fully understood and included" in the WGT infrastructure plans.

Both bodies have also made recommendations related to improvements along many adjoining roads and streets near the tunnel that allow easy movement for freight vehicles.

"…major arterials should also be sensitive to the needs of the freight industry and not restrict or constrict movement of vehicles that are servicing the needs of the community", VTA states.

CTAA says the lack of direct access to the Webb Dock terminal from the Bolte Bridge is a "major deficit to the overall usefulness of the WGT project" to the container transport sector.

CTAA says it had earlier requested the WGT committee to include direct access to/from the Botle Bridge and include bridge strengthening to SM1600.

"While the EES traffic modelling predicts that Wurundjeri Way and Lorimer Street will be able to handle an increased volume of truck movements, it misses the political aspect of potentially 1500 – 2000 truck movements per day within the Fishermans Bend residential precinct," the CTAA submission notes.

"Forcing trucks onto Wurundjeri Way and Lorimer Street is setting up a conflict that history clearly shows, the container transport logistics sector will lose, and will yet again add costs to supply chain and reduce Victoria’s international competitiveness."

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