Port Rail Transformation Project

This page provides a summary of the project.

Details on the rail operations can be found at our Rail Operations page.

The Port of Melbourne has announced a rail solution to meet the needs of a growing port, and to reduce truck movements in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs.

The Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP) will see more containers moved by rail more efficiently, by-passing roads in inner Melbourne. The project will increase rail terminal capacity and improve rail terminal operations.

For more than a decade, industry has been seeking a rail solution in Victoria. In a competitive ports market, it is critical to provide both road and rail freight movements. The Port of Melbourne has listened to industry feedback and is providing a solution that meets industry demands for increased transparency in rail access arrangements, better access and more capacity.

Moving freight by rail can move far more containers in a single trip than trucks can. For example, a 600 metre long train can carry 84 Twenty-Foot Containers (TEU) compared with a B-Double truck which has an average capacity of three TEU.

There will be a number of efficiencies in the rail supply chain, which will benefit both import and export markets.

The project is being funded by an amendment to the Pricing Order effective from 1 June 2020 that includes an increase in the tariff on full import containers of $9.75 per TEU. This equates less than five cents on the wholesale price on an average sized television. More information on port pricing regulation can be found here.

Key elements of the Port Rail Transformation Project

Changes to rail land and asset commercial arrangements

  • Integrated Port of Melbourne provision of port rail land and assets – Port of Melbourne is restructuring the port rail land and asset commercial arrangements for leaseholders within the Swanson Dock East Precinct to provide rail land and assets on the same basis it provides wharf and road land and assets.

Changes to rail operations

  • Improved rail terminal operation arrangements and transparency –new working arrangements between Port of Melbourne and Rail Terminal Operators at most current and all future port rail terminals.

New rail infrastructure

  • A new Coode Road rail terminal interfacing with the Swanson Dock East International Container Terminal.  The rail terminal will include two new rail sidings each that can handle 600 metre long trains.
  • A new road to facilitate the uninterrupted movement of containers. The new road will provide a continued East/West connection within the Swanson Dock Precinct without trucks needing to exit to Footscray Road replacing the section of Coode Road which will be closed for the construction of the above rail terminal.
  • Modifications to the Swanson precinct common user sidings to accommodate 600 metre long trains.
  • A new track linking the Swanson and Appleton lead tracks to allow additional flexibility for trains to move within the port precinct.
  • Upgrades to the Swanson lead track.

The map to the right showing the new rail facilities can also be downloaded here.

Indicative Project Implementation Timing(Financial Year)
Existing land and assets acquisition2019-2020
New land and asset arrangements provision2020
Rail terminal improvements2021-2023
Operating protocol implementation2020-2023

The PRTP is the cornerstone of the Port’s Rail Access Strategy Our Plan for Rail, which is a comprehensive plan for an integrated freight rail network across Victoria.

CEO Brendan Bourke provides an overview of the project

Find out more

To download a copy of Our Plan for Rail, click here.

To download the Port of Melbourne’s media releases, click here.

If you would like more information on the PRTP, please email information@portofmelbourne.com