The Victorian Government is continuing to boost the rail freight network in Mildura – making it safer, easier and quicker for freight operators and farmers to transport their local produce to port.
Visiting citrus exporter Mildura Fruit Company and freight provider Seaway Intermodal, Ports and Freight Minister said Melissa Horne said the rail freight network in Mildura would be kept moving to ensure continued support for famers and freight operators, by making it easier and quicker for them to transport their local produce.
Seaway plays a crucial role in moving fruit, wine, grain and peas, and will benefit from works soon to be carried out to upgrade the rail freight corridor, which will allow for heavier and more frequent trains to operate on freight rail between Mildura and the Port of Melbourne.
They include siding extension works at Merbein near Mildura, to allow 1200m-long trains to stable away from the main line so grain trains can run more frequently to Yelta, ahead of what is expected to be another bumper grain season.
Crossing loops further south will also be extended to allow opposing 1200m-long freight trains to pass each other and increase the current Seaway service between Mildura to the Port of Melbourne from to three to five days a week, moving thousands more tonnes of freight by rail and removing thousands of trucks from local roads.
An average loaded 800m long intermodal freight train carries a massive $2.25 million worth of produce – which is the equivalent of 55 semi-trailers removed from local roads, making our roads safer and reducing carbon emissions.
Packed citrus product from the Mildura Fruit Company (MFC) forms a major portion of Seaway Intermodal’s freight business, with approximately 5000 containers of produce moved per annum by rail from MFC alone.
The Victorian Budget 2022/23 will deliver $181 million for critical maintenance works on the regional rail freight network to improve rail freight competitiveness and support the growing freight task that is vital to regional economies and supply chains.
In addition, a further $3.5 million has been allocated to extend the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS). The MSIS supports more than 170 freight industry jobs at intermodal terminals in regional Victoria – including Seaway Intermodal – and removes the equivalent of 28,000 truck trips from the state’s roads every year.
The works are being delivered by Rail Projects Victoria as part of the Murray Basin Rail Project and support 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during delivery. Upgrade works have also recently been carried out on the Mildura line to improve the condition of the track and reduce the risk of infrastructure faults which can delay grain loading.