Andrews Labor government to deliver West Gate Tunnel incentives

The Andrews Labor government will introduce new West Gate Tunnel incentives to stop “rat runs” throughout Melbourne’s western suburbs, following plans for a North East Link tollway.
The Labor government has reported that it will require the West Gate Tunnel operator to set discounted shuttle rates, night time discounts and cap maximum daily tolls for trucks making multiple trips through the tunnel to improve freight productivity and reduce costs.
The project will, reportedly, directly link the West Gate Freeway to the Port with twin tunnels under Yarraville, and optimise fleet routes by avoiding 17 sets of traffic lights.
Trucks with a local origin or destination in the area will be exempt from the truck bans, according to Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan.
“This is a win for the whole community – quieter, safer streets for the inner west and cheaper, more efficient port access for the transport industry, said Donnelan. “By providing a dedicated route to the port, the West Gate Tunnel project will take thousands of trucks off local roads in the inner west. Without the Tunnel there can be no truck bans.”
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the government’s West Gate Tunnel toll incentives.
“We are pleased that the Victorian government has listened to the VTA’s consistent calls for heavy vehicle operators to be incentivised to use toll roads like the West Gate Tunnel,” saidPeter Anderson, CEO, VTA.
“The transport industry has been hit with substantial increases to tolls and infrastructure costs at the Port of Melbourne this year, so it is encouraging that steps are being taken by the government to ensure heavy vehicle operators are not penalised for using toll roads.
“Whilst permanent 24/7 bans on trucks travelling through Blackshaws and Hudsons Road form part of today’s announcement, they will be more than offset by the productivity gains that will be realised from giving operators a financial incentive to use the West Gate Tunnel.
“The trade-off is also welcome because it demonstrates that the Victorian government understands it cannot simply take something away from the industry without compensating for it in some other way.
“In this case, there will be new restrictions on trucks using certain roads, however the benefits that will flow from incentivising them to use the toll road is ample compensation, and is the kind of thinking that must be applied to other situations where the industry is asked to make substantial sacrifices.”

Victorian Treasurer to present Australian Freight Industry Awards

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has announced that Treasurer Tim Pallas will attend the 28th Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIAs) presentation celebration on 2 September, joining VTA President Cameron Dunn and CEO Peter Anderson on stage to present awards across the six major categories.
“The Victorian Government have been great supporters of the AFIAs as the sponsor of the Personality of the Year award, and by sending numerous representatives on the night itself,” said Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA.
“We are thrilled that the Treasurer will join us to recognise and acknowledge award winners and finalists for their outstanding achievements and contributions over the past year.
“That such a senior representative of the Andrews Government is attending our most important social event is a testament to the high standing with which the VTA is held within government.
“We have worked closely with the Treasurer and numerous other senior ministers on wide-ranging policy and legislative matters, and continue to appreciate the Victorian Government’s support of the freight and logistics industry, and its vital role in keeping our state’s economy moving,” he said.

Government backs Port of Melbourne rail shuttle

The Australian and Victorian Governments have announced that they will back several projects aimed at taking trucks off local roads and connecting major Victorian freight hubs with the Port of Melbourne, using the existing rail network.
The Governments will soon seek expressions of interest to deliver a series of rail freight ‘shuttle’ initiatives on the existing rail network by connecting the port to major freight hubs and businesses.
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the proposal would take advantage of rail’s ability to shift larger volumes of freight than trucks, while also busting congestion in Victoria’s capital.
“The Australian Government’s free trade agreements are seeing a boom in exports, which has led to trucks taking more produce and freight to the ports,” said Chester.
“This project will provide the ability to shift larger volumes of freight via rail compared to trucks, and reduce congestion on our roads.
“The freight and logistics industry had identified rail’s potential to reduce transport costs by about 10 per cent, with the proposal potentially improving Australia’s competitiveness, which is why the Australian Government is investing $8.4 billion in the Inland Rail project connecting Brisbane and Melbourne.”
Victorian Minister for Roads, Road Safety and Ports Luke Donnellan said the initiative will take trucks off local roads in Melbourne’s inner west.
“The Port of Melbourne will remain our primary freight hub for a generation. With container numbers expected to double over the next two decades we need to act now to share the load between road and rail,” Donnellan said.
“Alongside the West Gate Tunnel, 24-hour truck bans in the inner west and the Port’s rail access plans, this project will help shift containers from residential streets onto dedicated routes to the port.”
Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC, welcomed the Governments’ support of rail freight.
“Moving more freight to rail, where it makes sense commercially, has the potential to significantly improve freight efficiency, while at the same time improving urban amenity, reducing road congestion and decreasing queuing times at ports,” Kilgariff said.
“[The] ALC has been a consistent supporter of the Port Rail Shuttle project, which will be a significant enhancement to the Port of Melbourne, producing real benefits for freight efficiency in Victoria, and across the nation’s supply chains.
“In NSW, the state government is committed to doubling the amount of freight entering and leaving Port Botany by rail, which currently sits at 19.3 per cent. NSW Ports is likewise committed to moving 3 million TEU by rail over the longer term.
“There needs to be an equal focus on promoting greater use of short haul rail services for freight movement in Victoria.
“The Port Rail Shuttle will build on other significant investments being made in freight infrastructure – including the Inland Rail project, which will link the Port of Melbourne with the Port of Brisbane when fully completed.
“Constructing the Port Rail Shuttle to provide a rail connection between the Port of Melbourne and inland ports in Victoria is a crucially important aspect of improving the state’s freight network and driving greater supply chain efficiency and safety.”
 

Linfox celebrates top employees

Transport and logistics powerhouse, Linfox, has presented two employees with awards at the Senior Leadership Conference in Melbourne.
Each year, two Linfox employees are recognised and rewarded for outstanding performance, consistent demonstration of the Linfox values and potential for growth into a larger leadership role.
At this year’s Conference, Executive Chairman, Peter Fox, presented Andy Gissing with the Chairman’s Award. As Group Manager Consumer in the Retail business unit, Chairman’s Award winner Gissing manages customer contracts across the household brands sector.
“Andy’s hard work and leadership instilled a sense of confidence among stakeholders, while continuously displaying our Linfox values,” Fox said.
“It’s uplifting to receive such an award, but I’m extremely grateful for the support from everyone within the Resources and Industrial division,” Gissing said.
“The entire team and the drivers across the nation all played an integral role. This made my job so much easier, and I thank them all.”
Annette Carey, CEO Australia and New Zealand, presented Clint Terbogt with the CEO’s Award. Terbogt is responsible for Linfox Intermodal’s FMCG customers.
“Clint has been instrumental in driving continuous improvement programs with our customers and has developed some fantastic projects with significant savings,” Carey said.
“Clint has earned our deep respect for his consistent demonstration of the company values, and has been identified as a future leader at Linfox.”
“Congratulations to both our winners for their hard work and dedication to the company.”
The award winners will receive scholarships for personal development of their choice, in areas such as industry expertise, general management and targeted experience-based learning.

Two VIC industrial properties sold for $20 million

Perth-based fund manager Mair Property Funds has entered into agreements to acquire two commercial properties in Melbourne for $20.3 million in two off-market deals.
The properties, located in Ravenhall and Altona North in Melbourne’s west, will form part of Mair’s Diversified Property Trust.
The Ravenhall property, in the Orbis Business Park, is a modern industrial facility constructed in 2010 and located 22km west of Melbourne CBD with a land area of 13,930m2. The 6,888m2 building is occupied with a 15-year lease until 2031.
The Altona North property is an industrial warehouse built in 2008 and located 13km south west of Melbourne CBD with a land area of 18,410m2. The 10,056m2 building is occupied with a recently agreed eight-year lease that expires in 2025.
Peter Melling, Acquisitions Manager, Mair Property Funds said the two assets were identified for their favourable locations and strong lease agreements.
“Altona is becoming an increasingly important logistics hub due to its proximity to the Melbourne Port and access to the Princess Freeway and Western Ring Road,” said Melling.
“Similarly, Ravenhall is a rapidly growing suburb part of the West Growth Corridor Plan, where the population is expected to increase from 210,000 in 2016 to 377,000 people.”
Upon completion of the acquisition, the properties will be included in MPF’s Diversified Property Trust, which already holds four commercial assets in three states, including a retail premise in Maraoochydore, Queensland; a medical facility in Ellenbrook, Western Australia; an industrial premise in Henderson, Western Australia; and a retail industrial premise in Lynbrook, Victoria.

Funding earmarked for Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal

Wimmera grain growers are set to benefit from the development of new industrial lots at the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal site in Victoria, following the announcement of $1.25 million in funding from the Andrews Labor Government for Stage One of its construction.
“The Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal is located on the national rail freight network and further investment at this precinct will create better connections from paddock to port,” said Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford.
Industrial lots with bitumen road access, street lighting and other amenities will be established on the 100-hectare precinct, for agribusinesses and food and fibre processors establishing operations at the precinct.
The Wimmera is one of Victoria’s largest dryland farming regions and the Wimmera Intermodal Freight Terminal is a key export hub for local grain producers.
“By investing in the best infrastructure, we are helping grain growers get more produce from paddock to port more efficiently – that’s good news for growers and Victoria’s booming exports,” Pulford added.
“Supporting Victoria’s agriculture sector by investing in key infrastructure is a priority for the Government.”
The $2.5 million development will be delivered by Horsham Rural City Council, with support from the Labor Government.

GeelongPort unveils new strategy for Port’s future

Victoria’s largest regional port has unveiled a new brand identity along with a renewed strategy for the Port of Geelong’s future.
GeelongPort CEO, Brett Winter, announced on 26 July that GeelongPort would look to be considered as “more than just a port of call.”
“GeelongPort provides an opportunity for port customers to integrate their operations locally and take advantage of the benefits Geelong has to offer,” he said.
“Today we’re very excited to introduce a fresh new look for GeelongPort and a robust strategy that will enable our customers to connect with their markets more effectively than ever before.
The Port handles a quarter of Victoria’s exports, contributing almost 450 million dollars to the state’s economy.
“By 2035, the Port of Geelong is predicted to handle more than 18 million tonnes of imports and exports, generating 3,100 jobs,” Winter added.
“Our rural regions rely on GeelongPort to help move key bulk and break bulk goods, including crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, steel, woodchips, fertilisers and grains, without having to bear the brunt of costs associated with a capital city port.”
A recent economic impact study found that trade and employment in the Port of Geelong is forecast to increase by 50 per cent by 2035.
“GeelongPort currently has land available to help drive these growth opportunities,” said Winter.
“We have capacity at Corio Quay and Lascelles Wharf that would give port users the excellent connectivity Geelong offers, including excellent access via road, rail, sea or air and a well-developed transport network with fast and efficient connectivity between Victoria’s two largest cities and beyond.”

Amazon leases first Australian DCs

E-commerce behemoth Amazon has leased its first distribution centre in Australia, ahead of the rollout of its business here in the coming 12 months.
The Australian Financial Review has shared property agent CBRE has helped the online retailer decide upon a 24,387sqm warehouse on a 7.7-hectare site formerly occupied by Bunnings in Dandenong, southeast of Melbourne in Victoria.
The facility has been vacant since Bunnings moved to another Dandenong warehouse, and has been available for lease since October 2014, the AFR added.
Amazon is also rumoured to have selected its first Sydney location. ChannelNews has reported that the company is believed to have made a deal for a large fulfilment facility in Eastern Creek, at the Oakdale Industrial Estate.
The estate is owned by the Goodman Group, the same property agent that has helped Amazon set up its warehouse network across Europe and the US.
According to ChannelNews, Amazon’s Australian warehouses will be robotic and set up by US logistics fit-out specialists in the coming months.

Inland Rail to enable modal shift

At the Future of Freight event held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Melbourne on 17 July, a panel of logistics industry experts discussed the need for, and barriers to, a modal shift in Australia’s freight transportation network.
John Fullerton, CEO of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), noted that the nation’s much-discussed growing freight task will heavily impact the east coast.
“If you look at Melbourne to Brisbane, currently only 25 per cent of that freight moves by rail, 75 per cent is on road,” he said. “Compare that to Melbourne all the way to Perth, we’ve got 75 per cent of the freight on rail, primarily because we run trains to different schedules, we’re more competitive, we can run trains a lot longer, and we can double stack those trains out of Adelaide.”
The purpose for Inland Rail, he added, will be to complete the network of track between Australia’s capital cities that can carry world class–configured trains. “We’re going to get more freight onto the network, to handle freight for the future and get a better, more productive market share,” he said.
Maurice James, Managing Director of logistics and infrastructure company Qube, added that he sees the Inland Rail project as a great opportunity.
“I think [people] are underestimating the benefits of Inland Rail,” he said, adding that the time is right for the construction of a “huge” intermodal terminal at either end of the rail line, in Melbourne and Brisbane, to drive freight to rail.
“Freight doesn’t just come to rail,” he said. “Freight goes to rail when rail is more efficient against road.
“The opportunity that Melbourne and Victoria have is to identify where is that big intermodal terminal at the end of the Inland Rail [going to go]?”
James noted that Qube will soon discuss ‘fragmented supply chains’ with the management of the Port of Melbourne.
“At its worst, between a container coming into the Port of Melbourne, or any port, and the product ending up on the shelves, there could be anywhere up to 12 or 14 different truck movements,” he said. “People thinking about the product going to the warehouse, then to the store – [they don’t realise] everything behind that container, where the empty container goes, the reuse of the empty as a export commodity, how it gets back to the port.”
Qube’s model, he shared, is to focus on making sure every container coming through Australia is used as efficiently as possible.
“The logistics challenge ahead for the country is quite simple,” he shared. “It’s truck movements to rail head, a rail movement to Brisbane, and a truck movement to a final destination, competing with a truck, door to door.
“[Truck door to door] is quite easy, from a pricing, costing, efficiency perspective, but if you had…an intermodal hub in Melbourne and Brisbane and you’ve effectively [got] rail competing door to door with road, then you’ve got a serious chance of a significant modal shift.”

Freight focus group supports road-pricing change

On a panel of logistics industry experts at the Future of Freight event held by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in Melbourne on 17 July, John Fullerton, CEO of Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) voiced his support for an increase in use-based charging for Australia’s road networks.
“At the end of the day, infrastructure has to be priced on usage,” he said. “We see it on rail today, we see it in telecommunications, and in the energy sector – you use it, you pay based on volume consumption.”
“Road pricing is inevitable, it has to happen because that way you can get some proper decision making around how best to invest your funds.”
He added that in the future, that decision making may well be taken out of the hands of those currently responsible for it, due to a move towards green transport.
“A lot of road expenditure is recovered from fuel excise on vehicles that are now far more productive than they have ever been,” Fullerton said. “Plus we can all see the move to electric vehicles and electric trucks happening, inevitably governments won’t be able to cover revenues from fuel excises because there will be less and less fuel consumed.”
“It is common sense to introduce a road-charging mechanism where, particularly on heavy vehicles, for every tonne of freight carried over a kilometre, and on particular corridors that may attract higher rates than other sorts of corridors.”
The recovered revenue could then flow back into government, he explained, to be reinvested, whether in rail or road, to get the best investment and most productive return for the economy.
“I think we’re heading in that direction,” he said. “It’s been slow, and it should happen quicker, but I’m certainly seeing at a federal level there’s a great appetite to move in this direction.
Maurice James, Managing Director of Qube, agreed that a different pricing regime is inevitable, suggesting a price scheme based on higher fees to access in-demand routes, and added that he hopes measures to ease urban congestion in Melbourne will also be implemented in the coming years.
“I feel that the biggest issue here in Victoria is we’ve almost got a disconnect between urban planning and urban policy frameworks, and freight planning and the policy that goes into freight,” he said.
He encouraged event attendees from the Victorian Government to think about how the region’s freight supply chain can be addressed in order to deliver efficiencies.
“I think Melbourne’s geography has been its strength,” he said, noting that 10 or 15 years ago, Melbourne was held up as a beacon in comparison with Sydney’s congestion. “[It] has a great road network, in terms of City Link, West Gate and the Monash [Freeway], but now […] that’s a congested network.”
He called for a freight system whereby goods brought into the Port of Melbourne would be more efficiently transported to their destination, where at present they are moved to the city’s western suburbs from the Port, then often back over to the east to their final destination.

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