Port of Melbourne 30-year draft strategy released

VTA highlights effective and efficient freight movement as crucial goal

Port of Melbourne 30-year draft strategy released
The draft report's cover


The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the Port of Melbourne’s (POM’s) release of its draft 30-year Port Development Strategy 2050 (2050 PDS) for consultation.

The 2050 PDS outlines priority projects that will improve the capacity at the port to ensure it is able to respond to the increasing needs and demands of a rapidly growing Victoria.

Proposed changes to the port’s existing facilities and land use by 2050 include:

upgrading and developing rail network and terminals at Swanson Dock to grow the volume of trade transported by rail

a new Webb Dock Freight Link and associated rail terminal(s) to further grow the volume of trade transported by rail into and out of the port

upgrading of the existing Swanson Dock and Webb Dock container berths to handle larger container vessels – up to 10,500 and 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) respectively) and extend the life of these facilities

developing new and expanding existing container terminal capacity within Webb Dock to support continued trade growth

relocating the Tasmanian trade to Appleton and Victoria docks to support continued container trade growth

potential development of new liquid bulk capacity at Yarraville Berth 6 or Breakwater Pier to support continued demand for liquid bulk and the operation of larger liquid bulk vessels

continuing and expanding the use of South Wharf for dry bulk trades, particularly cement and gypsum which are heavily used within Melbourne’s infrastructure and building construction sectors

integrating the former Melbourne Wholesale Market site in the Dynon precinct into the port’s operations to support continued trade growth and increase the volume of port trade handled by rail.

"The adoption of new and emerging technologies to improve freight vehicle and commercial vessel productivity and efficiency is also a significant ongoing opportunity considered within the 2050 PDS," the report says.

The strategy provides a 30-year framework, which is consistent with the state government’s goal of getting more freight on to rail, but also for increased use of Higher Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs) and increased use of truck operations during off-peak periods.

However, the next phase of infrastructure projects, while still long in duration, are expected to  less than that.

"Projects like the Webb Dock North container terminal and Webb Dock Freight Link would take approximately 13 years to develop and deliver," the report states.

"Work on these projects needs to commence now to ensure the required infrastructure is ready when needed to support the future trade demand."


Read how the Infrastructure Victoria report viewed the challenges, here


The VTA sees the issue as not about getting trucks off our roads but how to better manage the movement of freight through communities.

"Increasing the number of containers being transported by rail will move the road component of the container supply chain away from the ‘inner west’," CEO Peter Anderson says.

"The Port of Melbourne needs to become more productive and efficient and we need to accelerate these plans as quickly as possible.

"This strategy is all about ensuring that all industry stakeholders are working together so that the port remains a premier port in Australia."

The draft report effectively kicks the idea of shifting the port out of the inner city, either to the west of the bay or to Hastings, into the long grass again.

It also discounts port truck traffic as a cause of congestion in the greater Melbourne area, though it acknowledges that congestion issues remain.

"Truck traffic from the Port is very small component of the broader network traffic, consisting of 0.12% of total trips and 4% of the total heavy vehicle trips across metropolitan Melbourne," it states

"The port needs to be well-connected to road and rail networks so that freight moves efficiently between the Port and business locations

"As the city grows, there will be greater pressure on road and rail networks for both general and freight transport."

However, it points out that without productivity improvements, port truck numbers will grow to at 3.4 per cent a year from 11,000 in 2016 to 34,000 in 2050.

"Over the same period, metropolitan Melbourne heavy commercial vehicle and total network traffic are both forecast to grow," it says.

"Given this, by 2050 it is forecast that port traffic to represent a similar proportion of metropolitan heavy commercial vehicle traffic and total network traffic."

Changes sought are expected to keep the numbers closer to 20,000.

The strategy can be found here.


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