Freight Rail

DP World and Austrak announce inland port plans

Melbourne. Photo: Port of Melbourne Corporation

DP World Australia and Austrak have announced plans for a new intermodal freight hub at Austrak’s business park at Somerton, north of Melbourne.

The stevedore is to operate the new inland freight hub, to be known as Somerton Rail Port, positioned 23km north of the Port of Melbourne and Melbourne CBD.

The new facility is expected to be fully customs bonded and is to connect Somerton directly by rail shuttle with the Port of Melbourne.

Somerton Rail Port sits inside the 300 acre Somerton Business Park in an industrial area with direct road access to the Hume Highway and Somerton Road, and rail connections to the Port of Melbourne, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

DPWA chief commercial officer, Brian Gillespie, said the new Somerton facility would have capacity for 200,000 teu per annum.

“As a full customs bonded port for both import and export containers, Somerton can be offered as a port of origin and destination by shipping companies,” Mr Gillespie said.

“We expect capacity will grow to 400,000 teu over time.

“A rail shuttle service running between Somerton and Port of Melbourne will provide a rapid turn-around service for imports and regional rail exports.”

Mr Gillespie said the company would increase freight transport options for local importers, and especially regional exporters, by handling longer regional train services which struggled to access to inner city rail terminals.

“With the planned closure of Coode Road next year, Somerton will have rail shuttle access to an on-dock rail connection, which significantly increases the effective capacity of our West Swanson container terminal.”

Austrak national development manager, Clarenzo Perna, said it had long been Austrak’s vision to fully develop the Somerton facility.

“I am excited about this latest project, which uses the combined expertise and assets of DP World Australia and Austrak,” Mr Perna said.

“The Somerton Rail Port will create new efficiencies and competition in the import-export (IMEX) supply chain. The rail shuttle will immediately remove around 100,000 plus truck movements from the roads of inner city Melbourne each year.

“We expect Somerton Rail Port to become a regional freight hub, and an extension of the container handling terminal at Port of Melbourne.”

The Somerton Rail Port is expected to start operations in December.

This article originally appeared on Rail Express affiliate site Lloyd’s List Australia.