AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Industry distress at Baillieu’s fruit market comments

<p>Senior freight and logistics industry players in Melbourne have hit out at comments by Victorian opposition leader Ted Baillieu that his government would halt the relocation of the wholesale fruit and vegetable markets from the current Footscray Road location were he to win the November election.</p> <p>A group of prominent industry figures met under the aegis of the Victorian Freight and Logistics Council yesterday (Wednesday, August 16) and expressed concern that the state opposition leader had indicated his preference for the market to remain at the site.</p> <p>VFLC chairman John Begley said this would be a poor result for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, as well as the freight and logistics sector. </p> <p>&#8220Not only would the market and its supply chain customers and suppliers miss out on a strategically improved location and vastly improved facilities, but the vital infrastructure improvements for Victoria’s port rail interface would be compromised,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220Rail must have an opportunity to compete with road, or we face horrendous truck volumes around the port. We want to be able to deliver on Melbourne’s lifestyle expectations, without having the local communities suffer.&#8221 </p> <p>At the meeting, the council received briefings on rail and intermodal developments that relied on an effective interface with the Dynon and Swanson precincts. </p> <p>The market site is central to the management of the growing volumes of containerised freight moving through the port, with 75% of the imports destined for metropolitan Melbourne, and 80% of regional exports going out through the port, most carried by rail.</p> <p>&#8220We need capacity for regular urban shuttle trains between Somerton, Laverton, Altona, Dandenong and the port," Mr Begley said. "Each train can remove 50 trucks (or 100 truck trips) off the roads around the port. Surely this is desirable.&#8220</p> <p>Mr Begley said that assessing the freight task for fruit and vegetables, most of Victoria’s produce was marketed to the north and interstate produce purchased for Victorian consumers travelled along the Hume Highway. </p> <p>"Further high value, low volume fruit and vegetable exports are airfreighted from Tullamarine, therefore the Epping site has the advantage of great access to Melbourne via the Ring Road and CityLink, as well as a nearby intermodal hub for rail carriage,&#8221 he said.</p> <br />