VTA releases full speaker list for 2017 conference

With just over a week until the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) annual State Conference in Lorne, the peak freight industry representative body has revealed the full list of speakers that will address delegates over the two-day event, June 4–6.
New keynote speakers include Simon Thomas, Director – Programme Delivery, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC); Jonathan Dexter, Australia National Sales Manager, Viva Energy; Max Kruse, Chief Operating Officer, DP World Australia, Ian Matthews, Regional Operations Manager, WorkSafe Victoria; and CMV-Volvo Product Manager Thiago Leal.
These addresses will be supplemented by panel presentations and discussions from a mix of equipment manufacturers and suppliers, insurance and finance providers, human resources, and superannuation and legal experts.
“Productivity impediments remain the number-one barrier to transport operators being more successful, which is why we’ve built the program around a group of expert presenters and topics that can help delegates improve their operation’s KPIs across the board,” said Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA.
“The program reveals an interesting mix of keynote addresses and presentations from politicians, regulators and industry leaders, supported by several panellists that will share insights and learnings on key productivity drivers of technology, safety, people, customers and equipment during a number of interactive discussions.

A Private Port – The outlook for Australian logistics

This article first appeared in the February/March 2017 issue of Logistics & Materials Handling
The privatisation of the Port of Melbourne in late 2016 will have major economic and infrastructural implications for the city, Victoria and the country for the next half-century. For the region’s logistics industry, it will be anything but business as usual.
Australia’s largest container and general cargo port, the Port of Melbourne, was recently leased for 50 years to a private syndicate, the Lonsdale Consortium. Victoria’s logistics industry is set to benefit from massive investment by the new owners to improve the Port’s efficiency and increase its capacity.
The deal follows the privatisation of the east coast’s other major marine transport hubs, the ports of Brisbane, Botany Bay, Kembla and Newcastle, in recent years. The Victorian gateway handles the bulk of Australia’s freight task and, as such, the agreement will impact the region’s logistics industry at every level, in the region and across the country.
The successful bidders secured the lease in September 2016 in a deal worth $9.7 billion, and promptly took control of the Port of Melbourne on 31 October. Having expected to settle around the $7 billion mark, the Victorian Government was pleased with the result, vowing to invest the money on improving the region’s transportation links. Along with an additional, expected-though-disputed 15 per cent top up from the Federal Government under the asset recycling agreement, Victoria’s $11 billion windfall will have massive implications for its trade, transport and infrastructure ambitions.
Several projects have already been earmarked for investment with the proceeds of the sale, each aimed at relieving transport woes around the region. Lease proceeds going to the Victorian Transport Fund will be allocated to improved rail and vehicular access to the Port and the removal of 50 of the area’s worst level crossings to ease urban traffic congestion. Also to receive funds is a major urban rail project, Melbourne Metro, designed to ease commuter congestion on highways, and the ‘Western Distributor’, a five-kilometre toll road to link the West Gate Freeway at Yarraville in Melbourne with CityLink at Docklands, allegedly taking 6,000 trucks per day off the West Gate Bridge.
At the time of the sale, ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff voiced his support for major investment in logistics infrastructure. “Infrastructure Australia has predicted the volume of containerised trade going through our ports and airports will increase by 165 per cent from 2011 to 2031,” he said. “This significant growth underscores a need for all governments, including Victoria, to invest in appropriate national infrastructure to ensure our landside infrastructure can keep pace with waterside growth.
“Now is the time to get Victoria’s supply chains right by investing in the State’s logistics infrastructure to maximise the Port’s future potential.”
Tim Pallas MP, Treasurer of Victoria, has given assurances that the money obtained from the lease sale will directly benefit road users, and commercial vehicles in particular. “The Victorian Government is already working to take thousands of trucks off the West Gate Bridge and to the Port of Melbourne by a new dedicated road link, easing congestion for city-bound traffic,” he wrote in an official release. He has, however, already expressed concerns over funding and the politics of progress after the Federal Government refused to offer the full 15 per-cent asset recycling scheme top-up payment. Nonetheless, it would appear that, at least for the near future and the current government, the coffers are full and investment is possible.
On the other side of the transaction, the Lonsdale Consortium, comprising the Future Fund, QIC, Global Infrastructure Partners and OMERS, has secured a valuable deal. For their money, they have gained control over Australia’s largest and busiest container, automotive and general cargo port, and the 3,000 vessels that visit each year handling 36 per cent of the country’s container trade.
In addition, the deal specifies that the State will be required to pay compensation if a second container port in the region is constructed within the 15 years of the lease’s commencement.
Some observers worry that in order to recoup their cash, the Consortium will hike up fees and rents as soon as an agreed 15-year fee freeze period has expired, resulting in a loss for the Port’s users and, indirectly, consumers. ANL Container Line Managing Director John Lines warned at the time of the sale that port users and the broader Victorian community would soon feel the squeeze. “Port and other State asset privatisations are a tax by stealth which will be paid over decades to come,” he told Lloyd’s List Australia. “If we look at the numbers for Melbourne and do some very simple calculations, the Port made EBIT in 2014–15 of $121 million which at the sale price of $9.7 billion for a 50-year lease, is $195 million per year just to get their money back, let alone make a good investment return. So the only way is up for prices. There is some comfort in the 15-year price cap in the lease agreement but after that, for another 35 years, it will be open slather…and we will all be paying dearly for it.”
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA), meanwhile, has advocated the private lease, welcoming the infrastructure improvements to come as a result. “The VTA played a significant role in the process behind leasing the Port of Melbourne, through numerous submissions, appearances before the Upper House lease inquiry and advocating for transport projects lease proceeds,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson. “The windfall from the lease will fund projects through the Victorian Transport Fund, such as strengthening roads and bridges to accommodate high productivity freight vehicles.
“It was also notable that through our efforts, the legislation was modified to address the major concerns we had about protections at the port, giving operators certainty against excessive price hikes.”
As the Lonsdale Consortium and Victorian Government congratulate themselves on a job well done, thoughts must move to the realities of a privatised Port for the thousands who pass through it each day.
In return for the anticipated rise in fees, port users will ideally benefit from the spoils of a transition from state ownership to private management, including increased efficiency, faster decision- and change-making powers thanks to a less bureaucratic system and investment in facilities.
In reaction to a once-popular opinion favouring government intervention, Harvard Professor of Economics, Andrei Schleifer, stated in his much-cited 1998 paper State Versus Private Ownership that capitalism limited by government regulation – not socialism – should be the answer. “Private ownership should generally be preferred to public ownership when the incentives to innovate and to contain costs must be strong,” he wrote. “Many of the concerns that private firms fail to address ‘social goals’ can be addressed through government contracting and regulation, without resort to government ownership.” Schleifer’s vision, however, relies on the absence of monopoly, a fact that the Lonsdale Consortium’s contenders for the lease will now be keenly aware of, though the Victorian Government will retain responsibility for some aspects of port business – notably safety and environmental regulation.
According to former ports boss Michal Frydrych, while privatisation or leasing of terminals and port operations can be beneficial, selling or leasing entire ports can lead to serious abuse of power. “I have always operated on the premise that ports are vital to development of countries and should play a supporting role to the rest of the economy,” he wrote. “We cannot have expensive ports with limiting power over other port developments. We need ports in correct places, practical and managed by port people.
“Ports are far too important to be used for quick cash to be used to build bridges that should have been built anyway.”
The privatisation of the Port may lead to an increased cost of business for its users, with owners pursuing profitability and shareholder interests. Already it seems likely that a levy introduced by the Victorian Government in 2012 to improve infrastructure around the port and increase supply chain efficiency, the ‘Port Licence Fee’, will continue to be collected beyond its original projected end date of 2022. Peter Van Duyn, Maritime Logistics Expert at the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics at Victoria University, warned in late 2016 that the ‘temporary’ charge is likely to be collected until the end of the lease agreement. “The Port Licence Fee, which currently contributes approximately $80 million per year to the Port’s coffers and is CPI indexed…was originally meant to be levied for a duration of about 10 years, or until it had raised $1 billion,” he wrote. “It looks like importers and exporters are now stuck with this fee for the next 50 years.”
There are big changes ahead for the Port of Melbourne. Over the next 50 years, the Lonsdale Consortium will be responsible for the success, or failure, of Australia’s most important port and its many dependents. So far, many promises have been made, but it shall soon become clear whether the Lonsdale Consortium will deliver, or if the people of Victoria are being taken for a ride.
Air logistics – outlook
The Port of Melbourne lease is not likely to have a dramatic, direct impact on the region’s air logistics industry. Indirectly, though, it is sure to benefit from the upgrade projects and investment in other parts of the region, with shorter Port-to-airport times thanks to reduced road congestion, the construction of dedicated freight routes and the reduction of commuter traffic if a metro system is developed. Additionally, with members of the Lonsdale Consortium holding stakes in Melbourne Airport, the region’s air cargo hub may well figure in the group’s long-term vision for Victorian logistics.
Marine logistics – outlook
Set to benefit most from improved efficiencies in processes in the Port of Melbourne, marine logistics is also positioned to take the brunt of added fees. With no second container port in the area to help deal with the projected doubling of freight volume in the next decade, and with a 15-year block on the construction of a new one, the Port of Melbourne will continue to face the massive task alone, with some operators worrying they will be at the mercy of the owners’ management, rules and fees. ANL Container Line Managing Director, John Lines, expressed serious concerns about the privatisation, for example: “Ports are big, lumpy bits of vital infrastructure for each region and, being a natural monopoly, are best owned by the state. The prices paid to cash-strapped governments are no doubt attractive but these prices can only be recouped by the purchaser by increased flows or increased prices and only one of these, prices, is under their control,” he says. “These extra costs will flow through the whole economy.”
Rail logistics – outlook
Rail logistics are set to benefit from the privatisation of the Port of Melbourne, both directly and indirectly. Russell Smith, Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), part of the winning Lonsdale Consortium, advised at the time of purchase that the group has plans to use its experience in managing port and rail assets to make the rail logistics chain from regional NSW and Victoria into the Port more efficient and pricing more competitive with other ports. “GIP looks forward to bringing to bear our strong port and rail industry expertise to drive forward the efficiency and capacity of the Port of Melbourne and focus on the necessary transformational change in the road/rail mix servicing the freight task,” he commented.
Some proceeds from the sale are to be directed towards developing better rail infrastructure in anticipation of growing freight volume. At the time of the purchase, ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, commented on the importance of investment in road and rail infrastructure linking the port to the wider transport network, including the development of an inter-modal terminal. “This includes an appropriate investment of the $58 million set aside for the port rail shuttle, which has been on hold while the port lease transaction was finalised,” he said. “Investment must incorporate all modes of transport, including short-haul rail, which needs to play a greater role into the future as our ports continue to move greater numbers of containers each year.”
Road logistics – outlook
If planned infrastructure developments come to fruition, fleets will benefit from better port access and traffic conditions, avoiding the overloaded West Gate Bridge thanks to the ‘Western Distributor’ project. “An appropriately regulated port, supported by efficient road and rail links, is vital to sustaining the Victorian economy and driving productivity improvement across the supply chain,” said ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff. Beyond the port, improved infrastructure in the region funded by the sale will contribute to more efficient journeys, directly through the removal of level crossings, and indirectly by getting cars off the road and people onto a city-wide metro system.
Sources: Lloyd’s List Australia, Shleifer, A. (1998) ‘State Versus Private Ownership’. Ferrier Hodgson (2014) Transport and Logistics Insights: The road ahead. AFR (2016) Record $11b Port of Melbourne sale rides infrastructure boom. Infrastructure Victoria (2016) Advice…on options to secure Victoria’s future ports capacity.
 

Ports forging new alliances to meet challenges of shipping industry consolidation

After decades of rivalry, regional shipping ports are joining forces in an effort to make themselves more attractive to the world’s top ocean carriers.
The trend has been sparked by consolidation in the shipping industry which threatens to cut some ports out of lucrative global trade routes. Earlier this year, the world’s largest shipping companies formed three alliances which, together, will control around 90 per cent of global shipping traffic.
The alliances plan to save costs and improve efficiencies by packing more cargo onto larger vessels. As a result many are likely to make fewer stops, thereby bypassing some ports altogether.
In response, port operators are scrambling to retain their traffic and find ways to increase operations in this changing market. As well as examining every facet of their operations, many are considering forming commercial relationships with other ports in their region.
Creating new port agreements
The new agreements between port operators are being facilitated by the sharing of information about current operations and future plans. This is allowing aligned ports to understand where others are making investments and guide their own future spending.
Rather than simply competing with every other port in their region, some operators are seeing value in specialising in the types of cargo they handle while leaving other types to another port. For example, Port A may opt to invest in its container handling capabilities under an agreement with Port B that will vie for mixed cargo shipments.
Such specialisation is attractive for port operators as it allows them to create a point of difference when negotiating with shipping companies. The operators can also make capital investments safe in the knowledge that they will not be competing with other nearby ports for the same types of shipments.
The forging of mutually beneficial agreements with other ports will rely on the sharing of accurate data about operations. Rather than keeping their cards close to their chest as has been traditional, operators must be prepared to reveal details of everything from throughput rates and productivity to vessel turnaround times and equipment utilisation.
Some agreements between operators could lead to official alliances under which multiple ports are combined under a single agreement. This would result in further improvements in productivity and the sharing of back-end processes.
In this scenario, the Terminal Operating System (TOS) used within each port becomes critical. It must be able to handle the now specialised cargo moving through the facility as well as provide accurate data for shipping companies.
Ideally, the same TOS will be used in each port location, allowing seamless sharing of data and the streamlining of administrative workflows.
Boosting appeal for shipping companies
As well as creating new working relationships with other ports, operators must also ensure they are making themselves as appealing as possible to the shipping companies. The companies must be confident their vessels can be loaded and unloaded swiftly and administrative processes handled with the minimum of fuss.
Here, the TOS again plays a critical role. Firstly, the TOS is used to accurately plan shipping movements to ensure vessels are not forced to wait for long periods for a berth to become available. Shipping companies can plan their journey times to ensure minimum turnaround times are achieved as often as possible.
Secondly, the TOS will aid the management of any warehousing facilities made available to shipping companies for storage of goods prior to or post journey.
Some port operators are also looking at making investments in their facilities to better accommodate the larger vessels now being used. Improvements can include dredging channels and installing larger cranes. Such investments can be coordinated with other port partners to ensure duplication is avoided and a financial return is achieved.
By taking such steps and creating working agreements with former rivals, port operators will be in a much better position to retain and grow their shipping traffic. Those that choose not to follow such a path risk losing their business as shipping companies opt to use specialised facilities with efficient processes in place.
The global shipping industry will continue to evolve and it is vital that port operators constantly examine and develop their facilities to ensure they match market demands.
Kaustubh Dalvi is President of Global Business Development at Logistics Jade Software.

Melbourne’s second port to be built – in 2055

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 Age reports.
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 offshore a four-kilometre industrial island connected via a 1.5-kilometre 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.”

New container system to save industry $2+ billion

A new system which treats lifting four or six empty containers as a single block using the same principles as the lifting of a six pack of beer cans has been developed to save the industry billions while also improving safety for terminals and shipping lines.
The shipping container has revolutionised international freight transport and continues to account for a greater share of cargo moves every year but the handling of empty containers is a continuing problem.
Repositioning empty containers costs the shipping industry $20 to $27 billion (US$15 to US$20 billion) per year – up to eight per cent of a shipping line’s operating costs – according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
“Moving relatively light empty boxes, which represent over 20 per cent of total in-port container moves, often one by one with powerful cranes and vehicles is incredibly inefficient,” said Selwyn Rowley, Sales and Marketing Director, BLOK-Container Systems (BCS).
“By deploying BLOKs of containers linked with BLOK-Locks and specially developed BLOK Spreaders and Trailers the whole container handling system can be speeded up dramatically using existing cranes and terminal infrastructure which will save money, speed up vessel turnaround, ease congestion and make the whole operation safer on land and sea,” he added.
Martin Clive-Smith, CEO, BCS added, “This is a rare project in which the whole industry will benefit from improved safety and commerce, with minimal changes in infrastructure and practices required.”

Infrastructure wins in Federal Budget

Australia’s associations and industry have welcomed the major support for Australian infrastructure in the 2017–18 Federal Budget.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) commended the Government’s $8.4 billion support of Inland Rail,  commitments to construct the Western Sydney Airport and duplicate the Port Botany freight rail line and support of Infrastructure Australia.
“The Budget’s strong focus on infrastructure is timely, coming less than six months after the Federal Government agreed to ALC’s request to develop a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC. “We welcome the measures announced tonight as a positive first step in continuing efforts to deliver a safer, more efficient supply chain.”
Aurizon Managing Director and CEO Andrew Harding reported that he was pleased to see the Government commit to investing in freight rail infrastructure, adding that he believes Governments – at both the federal and state level – have key roles to play in implementing sound policy and regulatory frameworks to support a competitive rail industry.
“To improve the competitiveness of rail freight, the Inland Rail project and linked supply chains will need more than the correct design and construction, they will require major transport policy reform,” Harding said.
“Rail freight companies need to be able to compete on equal footing with other transport modes and allow rail to do more of the heavy-lifting in Australia’s freight transport task.”
Rail freight operator Pacific National and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) also spoke out in support of the Budget.
“More than thirty years since the ambitious rail link was first suggested, the 1,700km rail line is now well on track to become a reality following the $8.4 billion commitment in last night’s Federal Budget,” Pacific National said in a statement.
“Pacific National believes the Inland Rail project will be transformative for Australia, helping revitalise regional communities and providing a boost in national productivity that will deliver for generations to come.”

Danny Broad, CEO of the ARA, said, “Linking Victoria and regional NSW with Queensland will help get freight off the road and onto rail, address rising congestion in Sydney and will deliver thousands of jobs, many in regional Australia.”

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson welcomed the Inland Rail investment and other long-term infrastructure commitments.

“The $500 million allocated for Victorian regional rail is also welcome because it will give rural commuters additional travel options to consider, which is good for road freight because it will alleviate congestion on rural road networks,” said Anderson.
“We are also encouraged that the Budget considers a variety of perspectives that are integral to the freight task, other than infrastructure. For example investments earmarked to continue Black Spot, Roads to Recovery and other vital programs are critical for encouraging better driver safety, which is welcome news for operator and road safety in general.”
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) stated that it felt some of the money earmarked for the $8.4 billion Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Rail project could be better spent on investment in Australia’s coastal shipping sector.
“Port infrastructure already exists in Australia and coastal shipping leaves the lowest carbon footprint when it comes to moving goods around our coast,” said MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin.
“This package from the Government looks a lot like pork-barrelling by the Coalition to protect their inland seats through regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland as they desperately try to stave off the threat from One Nation and other parties.”

Moorebank Logistics Park launched

The launch of the Moorebank Logistics Park has been described by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) as a “watershed moment” in the continuing transformation of Australia’s freight networks.
“Given the Federal Budget’s significant investment in freight infrastructure and the continuing development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, it’s an auspicious moment to mark the establishment of what will become the nation’s largest intermodal freight precinct,” said ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff.
“This nationally significant project was included on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List and, according to government figures, is expected to create some 6,800 jobs and deliver $11 billion in economic benefits over the next three decades. The strategic location of this site, at the very heart of New South Wales’ freight network, is second to none.”
Kilgariff added that more efficient road and rail connections from ports to intermodal facilities would be key in meeting the country’s growing freight task, reducing road congestion and improving community amenity.
“The Moorebank facility is central to achieving this around Sydney’s heavily congested M5 corridor,” he added. “At the same time, its ability to transport 1.5 million TEU each year from Port Botany by rail will support the NSW Government’s goal of boosting rail freight to and from that port from its current 18 per cent to around 30 per cent. Likewise, it accords with NSW Ports’ objective of moving three million TEU by rail by 2045.”
“ALC has long argued that building a reliable, national network of intermodal facilities is central to boosting rail’s contribution the national freight task. Moorebank will complement other intermodal facilities throughout NSW, including Aurizon’s operations at NSW Ports’ Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre, and Pacific National’s facility at Chullora.”
“Both Moorebank Intermodal Company and Qube Holdings deserve enormous credit for their intensive efforts bringing Moorebank to fruition. The success of this intermodal facility is set to deliver transformational improvements to supply chain efficiency,” Kilgariff concluded.

New facility commissioned for Port of Brisbane logistics estate

Pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso has pre-committed to a 5,950m2 purpose-built warehouse facility within the Port of Brisbane’s Port West logistics estate at Lytton, Brisbane.
Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL), CEO Roy Cummins welcomed Stora Enso to the estate and confirmed construction would commence on the on the 1.8 hectare site within a fortnight.
“The Port West location – particularly its proximity to the Port of Brisbane’s container terminals and wharves – will enable Stora Enso to significantly reduce its transport logistics costs,” said Cummins.
Stora Enso’s Managing Director Matthew Wood said, “The decision to select the Port West site was principally made due to the location’s proximity to the port and the associated logistics benefits, which will significantly reduce the cost of our freight movements.”
Construction of the new facility is being undertaken by FKG on behalf of PBPL (owner and developer), with occupation prior to the end of 2017. The site will be designed for the import, storage and distribution of timber products and will include over 8,000m2 of hardstand.
Port West Estate is located 6km from the Port of Brisbane and 5km from the Gateway arterial network.

Sydney Airport, Port Botany freight improvement works begin

Sydney motorists will soon benefit from a new road underpass linking General Holmes Drive, Botany Road and Wentworth Avenue, with work now under way on the $170 million Airport East project.
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher said the project, which includes $40 million of funding from the Australian government, will improve the movement of rail freight to and from Port Botany while improving traffic flow from the airport.
“Sydney Airport and Port Botany are two of Australia’s most important international gateways but roads in the area are increasingly congested due to the rising numbers of passenger, freight and commuter vehicles,” Fletcher said.
“Motorists who use these roads know how important the Airport East project will be to improving congestion around the airport and Port Botany.
“Once finished in 2019, congestion through this area will be reduced in both the morning and evening peaks, making trips to and from the airport easier, with less time wasted sitting in traffic.”
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said the Airport East project will replace the General Holmes Drive rail level crossing with a road underpass linking General Holmes Drive, Botany Road and Wentworth Avenue.
“There will also be improvements to the Mill Pond Road intersection, along with widening of Joyce Drive and General Holmes Drive to three lanes in each direction between O’Riordan Street and Mill Pond Road,” Pavey said.
“The Airport East project forms part of the NSW Government’s Sydney Airport precinct upgrades.”
Work on the Airport West project is due to finish in mid-2017 and work is expected to start on the Airport North project later this year.

VTA stresses need for Port of Melbourne access strategy

A Victorian Government submission by new Port of Melbourne owner the Lonsdale Consortium has exposed flaws in planning for future growth and the Port’s capacity to handle an anticipated increase in the volume of freight expected to be moved in and out of the Port of Melbourne, according to the Victorian Transport Association (VTA).
The VTA has warned that if road and rail access issues are not suitably addressed, the Port of Melbourne will lose business to ports in other states, impacting the Victorian economy and threatening jobs.
“The VTA has long held the view that road and rail access to the Port has been neglected, and this submission confirms that if meaningful and significant changes aren’t made now that caters to future freight movement increases via road and rail, Victoria will lose business to other states,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“We need all of the infrastructure flagged in the submission, such as rail access to the new Webb Dock terminal, strengthening of bridges for longer and more efficient High Productivity Freight Vehicles, a freeway between CityLink and the Western Ring Road, and even East-West Link.
“And while we may not be able to afford it now, we at least need a sensible, long-term blueprint that prioritises future construction so that we aren’t wasting money on piecemeal solutions that are based on election cycles instead of the genuine needs of the economy,” he said.
Anderson said recommendations in the submission for the government to encourage more truck movements at night made complete sense.
“The best way to free up traffic during the day for commuters is to create policy settings and incentives for road and rail operators to access the 24-hour Port of Melbourne at night,” he said.
“This would also create amenity improvements for residents and efficiencies for operators, leading to productivity improvements for operators. Instead of banning trucks from port access roads and increasing tolls disproportionally, why not reduce tolls for trucks at night and actually encourage them to use the road? This is the sort of creative thinking that has been lacking to date, and we welcome discussion the submission will inevitably create that will lead to greater productivity and efficiency at the Port of Melbourne,” he said.
 

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