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Pallas hints at what will be in Victorian Transport Plan

Brumby Government looks at high productivity vehicles, ports and rail as part of new transport plan

By Samantha Freestone

The Victorian Government is looking at introducing high productivity vehicles and focusing heavily on rail and port productivity as part of its highly anticipated Victorian Transport Plan.

In his address at the Transport Forum last week, Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas forecasted a move away from “just-in-time” deliveries to larger truck-based delivery, noting fuel prices and driver shortages for the projection.

Pallas says transport planners identify the Westgate Bridge, the MI, the Eastern freeway and the Hume Highway as infrastructure issues the department will have to factor into the plan to ensure they meet the demands of the road freight task, which is expected to double by 2020.

A new freight-based rail strategy is expected to feature in the report after a target to move 14 percent more freight using the rail system by that date was deemed un-achievable.

Sir Rod Eddington’s report, which has heavily influenced the direction of the Victorian Transport Plan, criticises the Government’s failure to meet its long-term goal to move 30 percent of freight onto rail by 2010.

Pallas says planners anticipate container freight to move towards 20 foot containers, and container freight to rise from 65 to 80 percent by 2030.

He says that Victoria’s rapidly growing population coupled with a “move towards a service-based economy” will see a rise in container imports.

“Container exports too, will rise, as increasingly bulk agricultural produce will be exported in containerised form,” he says.

Pallas expects there will be implications for land use as demand for warehousing increases as a result of driver shortages and high fuel prices affecting freight delivery.

However, he says the State is “not yet at a point where fuel prices have climbed sufficiently to have an impact”.

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