AusRAIL, Market Sectors

New rail terminals key focus of Vic?s freight future

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Victoria’s freight future should include more rail terminals, a new transcontinental link connecting the state with Perth, Sydney and Brisbane, along with the development of the Melbourne Metro Tunnel to help free up freight capacity, according to a new report released last week. </span> <p>Victoria’s coalition government has stood by its commitment to build the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, despite the federal Coalition’s vow to cut off all federal funding for urban rail projects.</p><p>State premier, Denis Napthine, said the proposed passenger link would “free up freight capacity in Victoria’s east which will particularly benefit the new international container facility at the Port of Hastings.”</p><p>That new container facility – and the state government’s continued commitment to the Melbourne Metro Tunnel – were both part of its report: <em>Victoria – The Freight State</em>.</p><p>The report is focused on the future of freight and logistics within the state.</p><p>Aside from the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, one planned direction outlined within the report is the development and growth of efficient interstate rail terminal capacity.</p><p>The government is planning “modest investment” in the current interstate rail terminals at Dynon, which it says should improve their efficiency and extend their capacity in the short term.</p><p>But in the medium term, the government has proposed to relocate the interstate rail function away from the port and inner city area in order to improve operational efficiency and free up land for alternative urban development uses.</p><p>The government has nominated the Truganina area to the west of Melbourne as a potential location for a future interstate rail facility.</p><p>“The site is very well located in relation to freight users and could provide for the establishment of a highly efficient, integrated freight and logistics precinct,” the report says.</p><p>As well as the land in Truganina, the government has also tabbed land in Beveridge, to Melbourne’s north, as another potential site for a long term freight and logistics precinct.</p><p>“Strategic planning for [Beveridge] will aim to preserve the opportunity for a major rail terminal as the land is developed over coming decades,” the report says.</p><p>“The Coalition Government worked closely with industry in developing a holistic plan and will continue to work closely to ensure the direction we take is one that provides long term sustainable growth,” Victorian ports minister, David Hodgett, said when the report was released.</p><p>The freight report also paints a picture of 2050 Victoria, where it says “Although the road network will still be carrying the majority of the metropolitan freight task, rail is now playing a more significant role.</p><p>“Short, efficient container trains are shuttling freight from the main container port terminals to a well-established network of metropolitan intermodal terminals.</p><p>“These services are competitive with road for high volume movements and relieve pressure on key cross-city road links,” the prediction continues.</p><p>The plan also toys with the idea of, around 2040, building a major interstate terminal north of Melbourne, near the intersection of the main interstate north-south road and rail corridors, and a proposed Outer Metropolitan Ring (OMR) transport corridor.</p><p>It also predicts that, by 2050, the regional rail network will have been progressively upgraded and rationalised, with priority lines now supporting the higher axle loads and operating speeds necessary for efficient, competitive rail operations.</p><p>“As a result,” the report predicts, “record volumes of heavy produce for export are now being carried to the ports by rail, supporting Victoria’s leading role as a global food and fibre producer.”</p><p>The report also predicts that, by 2050, the Mildura line will be standardised, and will form part of a new ‘transcontinental link’ on the national rail network, connecting Victoria with Perth, Sydney and Brisbane.</p><p>Australian Logistics Council (ALC) managing director, Michael Kilgariff, praised the government’s report.</p><p>“The freight strategy estimates that the freight and logistics sector contributed between $19 – $23bn, or about 8% of total economic activity, to Victoria’s economy in 2011,” he said.</p><p>“Given ALC estimates that the sector is about 14.5% of the economy, that figure could be much higher.”</p><p>Kilgariff said the report’s focus on a rail freight network development strategy was “in line with the ALC election priorities &hellip to ensure Victoria retains the title of ‘Australia’s freight and logistics capital’.”</p>