Recommendations have been made for a second port in Melbourne but the existing port's capacity is currently projected to suffice until 2055. Will the project go ahead anyway?
Infrastructure Victoria has made recommendations to the Andrews government that Melbourne’s second major container port should be built near Werribee – but not for another 40 years
The suggested site, Bay West, is located between Werribee and Point Wilson, though Infrastructure Victoria notes that it will not be needed until container traffic outgrows capacity at the Port of Melbourne, estimated to happen by 2055.
The port’s container terminal would be located offshore on a 4km industrial island connected via a 1.5km road and rail bridge.
Road and rail links would need to be established across Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant, a protected site for birdlife.
Infrastructure Australia decided to remove another contender from the running, the Port of Hastings in the south-east of Melbourne, due to to the estimated $5 billion cost of connecting it to Melbourne’s rail network via the Pakenham-Cranbourne line, and the risk of increasing shipping traffic in the ecologically delicate Western Port.
The advisory body did add that the Port of Hastings could perform a supporting role, dealing with shipping of non-containerised goods.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed Infrastructure Victoria’s advice on securing Victoria’s future ports capacity.
“[The] ALC provided a submission to Infrastructure Victoria which stated that the Port of Melbourne should be able to operate as efficiently as possible for as long as possible,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“[The] ALC will continue to advocate that the recent lease of the Port of Melbourne should ensure it has an operational life of 50 years. Significant long-term investments made by those in the freight logistics industry must be respected and supported by all governments.
“The fact that a second container port has been mooted for operation post-2055, should not prevent much-needed infrastructure, such as the port rail shuttle, from being planned, financed and built as soon as practicable,” he added.
“We also look forward to the Victorian Government’s response to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy, which incorporated practical measures such as protecting freight precincts, improving rail access at the Port of Melbourne and progressing the Western Interstate freight terminal.”
Image: Igor Ovsyannykov