Expressions of interest will soon be sought for companies to connect the Port of Melbourne to major freight hubs and businesses via the city’s existing rail network.
A $58 million project aims to hand down a contract later this year, to help reduce road congestion in Melbourne by placing more port freight on trains, with funding available to upgrade rail connections and improve terminal access.
“The Australian Government’s free trade agreements are seeing a boom in exports, which has led to trucks taking more produce and freight to the ports,” federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester said.
“This project will provide the ability to shift larger volumes of freight via rail compared to trucks, and reduce congestion on our roads.”
The Australian Government is committing $38 million to the project, and the Victorian Government has committed $20 million.
“The freight and logistics industry had identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10%, with the proposal potentially improving Australia’s competitiveness, which is why the Australian Government is investing $8.4 billion in the Inland Rail project connecting Brisbane and Melbourne.”
Victorian roads and ports minister Luke Donnellan said the project would especially benefit Melbourne’s inner west.
“The Port of Melbourne will remain our primary freight hub for a generation,” he said.
“With container numbers expected to double over the next two decades we need to act now to share the load between road and rail.”