MSIS support for Victorian rail extended

SCT and FORG welcome modal-shift support to tackle freight growth

MSIS support for Victorian rail extended
SCT’s container shuttle in Melbourne


Victoria’s Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS), aimed at getting more freight on rail, is to be extended.

Ports and freight minister Melissa Horne announces a further $4 million for the scheme, which will see it continue to June 30, 2021.

"We’re moving more freight more efficiently and keeping our state connected by reducing rail costs and making it easier to get Victorian products to our ports," Horne says.

"This scheme benefits the community by getting trucks off roads which locals use every day and supporting industry through cost-effective movement of freight."

Horne states that it builds on the more than $20 million investment in the scheme over the past five years, which has "removed the equivalent of 28,000 truck trips off Victorian roads each year".

"With Victorian freight volumes set to nearly triple by 2051, it is vital rail takes up a greater share of the growing freight movement across the state," the state government says.

"The scheme provides support to rail freight companies to make rail transport costs competitive with road freight and allows exporters to get their goods to port sooner."

Read how MSIS was a part of the Victorian Freight Plan, here

SCT Logistics sees the move as a positive step.

"Firstly, I would like to thank Minister Horne for supporting the regional exporters and rail operators during these uncertain times," general manager ports development Matt Eryurek says.  

"The State budget had been pushed to October and the MSIS was going to lapse 1st July and this would have cost the exporters up to an additional $4 per tonne to move the boxes on rail.

"This announcement is a good step closer and aligned to the State vision to move more freight on rail by 2023.

"Rail from regional areas by 2023 combined with the port rail transformation projects underway will become more cost effective for exporters to compete with HPVs.

"This scheme is a $4 million annual investment by the state government.

"This investment is offset by reductions on road fatalities, wear and tear and carbon emissions.

"HPV’s are part of the supply chain that is important to cover our nation’s footprint.

"However, in routes which are already serviced by regional rail there should be a 30km radius no compete zone or trucks need to pay for roads used other than metro tolls as train operators pay for rail access fees to use the tracks.

"We are hoping that our state government continues this initiative to 2023 at minimum, till the current infrastructure programs are delivered and implemented."

The Freight on Rail Group (FORG) of Australia also welcomed the action.

"A big thank you to Minister Horne for listening to industry and giving the scheme a critical lifeline during these unprecedented and uncertain times," FORG chair Dean Dalla Valle says.

"The benefits of the scheme stretch well beyond regional freight businesses; the scheme helps to take trucks off local and regional roads, driving better road safety outcomes for the community, and is an investment in the future of regional rail freight jobs."

FORG believes discontinuing the scheme at this time would have undermined regional Victoria’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

"Australian regional exporters operate in highly competitive international markets and ending this says would have driven up freight costs and severely impacted many regional businesses," Dalla Valle says.

"By continuing the scheme, the Andrews Government is helping to protect many regional jobs across the freight supply chain and putting the state’s economy on the right track towards recovery."

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson underlines that initiatives that create greater capacity and efficiency in the supply chain are good news for all freight operators.

"For Victoria to remain the freight capital of Australia, it is essential we have significant investments in road, rail and sea infrastructure that enables better management and the seamless and efficient movement of freight from paddock to port," Anderson says.

"For every rail movement of freight there are at least one or two movements involving a heavy vehicle which demonstrates how operators throughout the supply chain benefit from rail investments like the minister has announced today.

"As I often say, ships, trains and planes carry freight but only trucks deliver, so we welcome the extension of the scheme, which will improve intermodal connectivity on our freight network and create productivity and efficiency gains for operators."


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