LeadWest, the advocacy group for Melbourne’s west, has called for the Andrews Government to urgently progress development for an inland rail terminal for freight to relocate shipping container parks, and get dangerous and polluting truck traffic off roads in Melbourne’s west.
While truck bans have been announced on Francis, Somerville and Buckley streets as part of the West Gate Tunnel project, LeadWest has estimated that the majority of the 10,000 truck trips along those streets involve the transportation of shipping containers which are being transported to and from the port to empty container parks located in Tottenham, Brooklyn, West Footscray and Yarraville.
The Western Interstate Freight Terminal (WIFT) is outlined in the Victorian Government’s Plan Melbourne to be built in Truganina and has been in pre-feasibility stage for years without progress, the group noted.
LeadWest has called for the WIFT to be developed urgently so container parks and associated traffic can be relocated to a more appropriate location.
“As this type of trucking usually involves slim profit margins, often the vehicles are old and poor quality, worsening the impacts on communities,” the group said in a statement. “Developing the WIFT and associated freight activity centre would enable container parks to be relocated and the transport of both full and empty containers to the port occur via rail.”
Craig Rowley, CEO, LeadWest said, “Empty shipping containers are almost the biggest export from the Port of Melbourne.
“Empty shipping containers are stored in container parks in Brooklyn and Tottenham and then trucked in their thousands to the Port of Melbourne along residential streets.”
Speaking to Logistics & Materials Handling, Peter Anderson, CEO of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) noted that empty containers will be necessary so long as Australia has a working port, since the country imports more containerised goods than it exports.
“As the port continues to grow we need to strike a better balance between road and rail to enable those movements,” he added. “An intermodal hub is essential for this balanced to be achieved.
“The VTA has put forward a number of sensible solutions to the government to reduce the impact of heavy-vehicle movements on local roads, such as multi-user discounts on tolls, efficiency rebates for low emission vehicles.” and specialist training for drivers operating in the area.