Port Rail Transformation Project

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 a small 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.

Key elements of the Port Rail Transformation Project are:

  • 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;
  • new on-dock rail terminal capacity – development of a new on-dock rail terminal at Swanson Dock East. Locating this new rail terminal next to the Swanson Dock East International Container Terminal will provide a lower cost transfer of containers between rail and ships.
  • 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. This encourages market competition between rail terminals and increases transparency
Indicative Project Implementation Timing(Financial Year)
Exising land and assets acquisition2019-2020
New land and asset arrangements provision2020
Rail terminal improvements2020-2023
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.

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

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

For a summary of the Port Rail Transformation Project click here.