Logistics, Ports & Terminals

Industry likes port sale, calls for investment

Photo: Port of Melbourne

Australia’s freight and logistics industry has praised the opportunities for rail investment opened up by the privatisation of the Port of Melbourne this week.

Australian Logistics Council managing director Michael Kilgariff reacted to the news on Monday, saying the $9.7 billion privatisation must be accompanied by appropriate road and rail investment.

“Now that an agreement has been reached on the long term lease of the Port, ALC encourages the State and Commonwealth Governments to prioritise infrastructure investment to the port to ensure it can meet its economic potential,” Kilgariff said on Monday.

“This includes an appropriate investment of the $58 million set aside for the port rail shuttle, which has been on hold while the Port lease transaction was being finalised.

“An appropriately regulated port, supported by efficient road and rail links, is vital to sustaining the Victorian economy and driving productivity improvements across the supply chain.”

The port was on Monday awarded on a 50-year lease to a consortium comprising of the Future Fund, QIC, GIP and OMERS, a group Kilgariff said “provides certainty to the logistics industry and unlocks significant funds for reinvestment.”

Australasian Railway Association boss Danny Broad also urged that the state release funds for the port rail shuttle as soon as possible.

“An analysis by consulting firm GHD found that the port-rail at the Port of Melbourne could replace 3500 container trucks each and every day with just 28 freight trains,” Broad said.

“This is potentially half of the port-based truck traffic.

“This is a significant outcome, given currently 100% of Melbourne’s imports and exports and transported by truck.

“The rail industry applauds DP World’s use of port shuttles with freight operator SCT and of their plans to develop Somerton, including rail shuttles. But more is needed with further strategic intermodal terminals/distribution centres and connecting rail lines to rail infrastructure on the docks,” he added.

“As our ports continue to move increasing numbers of containers each year, it is vital the governments invest in multimodal transport, including short haul rail, to ensure landside infrastructure can support the growth in waterside activity.”

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