Port of Melbourne scheme

Rail freight competitiveness scheme gets a $4m extension

The Victorian government has boosted a scheme that helps to shift freight from road to rail with a $4 million injection.

The funding will extend the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS) to 30 June 2021, and takes the total investment in the scheme to $24m over six years.

According to the Victorian government, the MSIS has already taken the equivalent of 28,000 truck trips off Victorian roads and onto rail.

“We’re moving more freight more efficiently and keeping our state connected by reducing rail costs and making it easier to get Victorian products to our ports,” said Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne.

The MSIS provides incentives to freight operators to move more freight via rail. Current recipients of the scheme are Linx Portlink on the Shepparton corridor, Wimmera Container Line on the Horsham corridor, Westvic Container Export on the Warrnambool corridor, and Seaway Intermodal on the Mildura corridor.

Horne said the scheme improves the cost competitiveness of freight.

“This scheme benefits the community by getting trucks off roads which locals use every day and supporting industry through cost-effective movement of freight.”

Chair of the Freight on Rail Group, Dean Dalla Valle welcomed the Victorian government’s decision.

“A big thank you to Minister Horne for listening to industry and giving the scheme a critical lifeline during these unprecedented and uncertain times,” Dalla Valle said.

“The benefits of the scheme stretch well beyond regional freight businesses; the scheme helps to take trucks off local and regional roads, driving better road safety outcomes for the community, and is an investment in the future of regional rail freight jobs.”

Dalla Valle said the extension of the MSIS would benefit regional Victorian businesses.

“Australian regional exporters operate in highly competitive international markets and ending this scheme would have driven up freight costs and severely impacted many regional businesses,” he said.

“By continuing the scheme, the Andrews Government is helping to protect many regional jobs across the freight supply chain and putting the state’s economy on the right track towards recovery.”

The MSIS is one of a number of initiatives to ensure that Victoria’s growing freight task is handled by rail. By 2051, freight volumes in the state are expected to triple, and the government is also investing in improving access to the Port of Melbourne, building new intermodal terminals as Truganina and Beveridge, and funding the Port Rail Shuttle.

New SA port to utilise rail connection for iron ore export

Mining company Havilah Resources has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Port Augusta Operations (PAO) for the use of a port and transhipment services for iron ore export.

The agreement comprises a 99-year lease over port terminal facilities at Port Playford, near Port Augusta in South Australia. The port includes an existing rail loop, unloading facility, sea wall roads, and storage sheds.

PAO will develop the land and terminal facilities to be a modern iron ore export terminal. This will involved refurbishment, upgrading, and other transhipment arrangements. PAO will then provide port and transhipment services for iron ore.

Technical director of Havilah, Chris Giles, said that the upgrade to the port will enable a rail connection from the Havilah’s iron ore deposits in northern South Australia.

“Port Augusta Operation’s proposed port and transhipment facility is approximately 300km by existing rail link from Havilah’s Braemar iron ore deposits, so it potentially provides a favourable logistical solution for us,” said Giles.

Giles also noted that rail will be a key connection between the mine and the port.

“Our Maldorky and Grants iron ore deposits in turn are located in close proximity to the transcontinental rail line, meaning reduced capital expenditure on logistics.”

Havilah owns three iron ore deposits, Maldorky, Grants, and Grants Basin. The deposits, which rise up to the surface, have the potential to be a 65 per cent iron product with high yields, according to a statement from Havilah.

The news comes after the former Northern power station near Port Augusta was sold to be developed into a port for CU-River Mining, as reported by the ABC in February. These developments would be the first time that commercial shipping would come to Port Augusta in 50 years.

Viterra receives 115,000 tonnes in two weeks

The 2019/20 harvest season has seen Viterra, the grain storage and handling network for South Australia and western Victoria, receiving just over 3.9 million tonnes for the harvest so far this season.

Within the last two weeks Viterra received 115,000 tonnes of wheat, barley and canola.

In those two weeks, the grain handler’s outturn schedule continued with five trains loaded with wheat, barley and canola from Gladstone, Snowtown and Bowmans.

“Although receivals have slowed across the state, Viterra is continuing to provide delivery options for growers,” a spokesperson said.

Most of the grain received in the past two weeks was delivered into Viterra’s Eastern region sites, with 36 sites receiving the grain between 25 December and 5 January according to Viterra’s first monthly receivals report.

Viterra’s total storage capacity is around 10 million tonnes which they store in facilities servicing 5000 growers and supplying directly to around 40 buyers through the Viterra supply chain.

Viterra provides: storage and warehousing, receival and elevation, quality assessment, logistics and accumulation, quality control and food safety, electronic transactional services, container packing and bulk ship loading.

The main commodities grown in the area include wheat, barley, canola, lentils, faba beans, field peas and lupins, which the handler then segregates depending on the variety, grade and quality specifications of their individual loads to better match the needs of buyers.