Jan 27, 2013

Western Interstate Freight Terminal receives planning money

The Federal and Victorian Governments have today come together to progress planning on the proposed Western Interstate Freight Terminal (WIFT), a facility with the potential to ease congestion around the Port of Melbourne and take more than 700,000 trucks a year off the City’s roads.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the development of this new piece of infrastructure would complement the unprecedented capital works programs which is currently rebuilding more than a third of the 10,000 kilometre Interstate Rail Freight Network.

“But new sleepers, track, passing loops and signalling technology will not be enough to fully restore rail’s competitiveness and reliability. It also needs to be better integrated with other modes of transport, including our ports and roads,” said Mr Albanese.

“An intermodal facility in Melbourne’s west certainly has the potential to achieve precisely that.  That’s why we are working with the Victorian Government to progress this proposal with the funding necessary to complete a pre-feasibility study into the project.”

The Western Interstate Freight Terminal pre-feasibility study is being funded by the Federal ($3.5 million) and Victorian ($1.5 million) Governments.  If given the final go ahead, the project would build an interstate terminal and freight precinct at Truganina in Melbourne’s west as well as a link to the Interstate Rail Freight Network.

Currently interstate containers bound for distribution in Melbourne are railed to terminals adjacent to the Port and then trucked to the outer suburbs.  An intermodal at Truganinia would do away with the need for interstate trains and trucks to come into the Port precinct.

Victorian Public Transport and Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the WIFT would reduce freight traffic through the inner west potentially removing up to 2,000 truck movements from the precinct every day.

“The WIFT would reduce truck movements in Melbourne’s inner west, open up land side capacity for the Port of Melbourne, Australia’s largest container and general cargo port, and enhance Victoria’s reputation as the nation’s freight and logistics hub,” said Mr Mulder.

“And with forecasts showing interstate rail freight through Melbourne will triple by 2030, it is important to plan now to ensure the right infrastructure is in place to meet demand.

“The WIFT makes sense.  It closes one of the biggest missing links in Victoria’s interstate rail freight network and improves efficiency by freeing up the rail and road capacity in this inner city precinct allowing freight to be distributed from outside of the CBD.

“Efficiency is gained by making better use of road and rail connections and reducing the time and length of truck trips.  This will have the twin benefit of reducing bottlenecks in inner Melbourne and reducing truck trips from inner urban areas.

“The Government is committed to growing freight on rail and projects like the WIFT will improve liveability for the community by promoting the use of rail while at the same time providing real economic and environmental benefits.”