Prospective Port Rail Shuttle loader soon to be sought

Victoria to call for port rail terminal proposals as Mulder reiterates that firms must resolve Altona infrastructure issues

Prospective Port Rail Shuttle loader soon to be sought
The Altona project will see containers loaded onto rail in the port. Pic: Peter Harry, Port of Melbourne Corporation


The Victorian Government is gearing up to start a central aspect of Melbourne’s Port Rail Shuttle (PRS) system.

It will seek a firm to develop a PRS loading terminal in the Port of Melbourne.

This part of the system is crucial to the Altona Intermodal Enhancement project that takes in container shipping firm Maersk’s facility at the Salta development that is awaiting the resolution of pipeline infrastructure concerns.

It will also help supply containers to planned hubs in Somerton, Altona and Dandenong South.

The Altona project, which also involves intermodal operator SCT Logistics, was given a $40 million Federal and State green light in March 2012 and gained an $18 million boost in the State Budget in May.

"The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments funded the Altona Intermodal Enhancement project which included rail works that enable Salta and SCT to connect new private sidings from their terminal sites onto the standard gauge national rail network," roads minister Terry Mulder says.

"SCT and Salta are responsible for building their private sidings, including protection works for the utility assets of companies such as Shell and Melbourne Water where the sidings cross over these assets.

"While VicTrack and Invest-Assist are assisting to facilitate discussions, the scope of protection works required to meet appropriate standards is essentially a matter that Salta and SCT still need to resolve directly with the relevant companies and safety authorities.

"The Government is working to develop a Port Rail Shuttle system to increase the amount of freight moved on rail to and from the Port of Melbourne to with interested private intermodal operators in the metropolitan area.

"The State and Commonwealth Governments have announced funding of $58 million toward this project.  A key part of the work being undertaken by the government is a terminal designed to load and unload the port rail shuttle trains at the Port of Melbourne.

"The Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure is currently preparing to call for proposals from companies interested in working with the Government to develop the new service.

"We will continue to work with the private sector to develop this initiative over the coming months."

At its inception, Mulder said the Port Rail Shuttle initiative involved construction of an extension to the existing standard gauge passing loop to accommodate 1,800 metre freight trains, new points providing access from terminals to the mainline and associated signalling and track works along this section of the Melbourne-Adelaide standard gauge line.

At this year’s Budget, $20 million was also found to continue the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS) which promotes the movement of containers from regional Victoria by rail to the Port of Melbourne.

In 2012, initial MSIS funding was $10 million, with the companies receiving funding being:

  • Tocumwal corridor − Patrick Container and Regional Port Enterprises
  • Horsham corridor − Wimmera Container Line (WCL) and Qube Holdings
  • Warrnambool corridor – Wettenhalls
  • Mildura corridor − Iron Horse Intermodal.


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