Victorian regional development minister Jaala Pulford has appointed a strategic consulting firm to look into the viability of creating a freight hub at Ararat, in the state’s south west.
Pulford last week announced the appointment of strategic consulting firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff for the feasibility study.
The minister said the study will identify Ararat’s role and function in the freight network, and examine the opportunity for developing a transport and industry hub in the Ararat City Council local government area.
“With Victoria’s food and fibre exports increasing in value each year, the state needs the right regional infrastructure to support growth in production, processing and transportation,” she said.
“This feasibility study is an important step forward in identifying how we may improve rail and road freight interconnectivity and increase services that are critical to our region’s growth.”
The state views Ararat as a good location for a potential freight hub thanks to its location on a major road freight route from Adelaide to Melbourne, at the junction of the Western and Pyrenees highways.
The regional city also has an existing rail service and direct rail access to Victoria’s major ports, and is situated in an agricultural region for grain, livestock, and wine production.
The state is spending $100,000 on the study, taken from the $500 million Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund.
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff’s study will provide accurate data and analysis about the need for a freight and logistics hub and analyse its potential benefits, including:
- Reduced costs due to improve efficiency
- A centralised point for North- South and East-West interchange
- The ability to off load onto larger or smaller vehicles
- The ability for transport firms to use Ararat as a logistics centre
- The ability to backfill loads, reducing costs
- Access for High Productivity Freight Vehicles