Infrastructure Victoria has advised the Victorian government on the need, timing and location of a second container port for Victoria.

It follows a request from the Special Minister of State in May 2016 for Infrastructure Victoria to develop independent advice on when to invest in container port capacity and whether a second container port should be located at the existing Port of Hastings, or a new Bay West location.

There are three key elements to Infrastructure Victoria’s advice to government:

  • Capacity at Victoria’s existing commercial ports should be optimised, having regard to social and environmental factors, before any investment in a second major container port
  • A new container port will not be required until capacity at the Port of Melbourne reaches approximately 8 million TEU, which is likely to be around 2055
  • Bay West is the preferred location for a second major container port

Mr Masson said Infrastructure Victoria’s advice was based on new evidence and a direct comparison of all the available options – something which had never been done before.

“Our advice is based on the best available evidence – including new data and technical analysis which was released transparently for consultation – and considers the economic, social, environmental and urban planning benefits and impacts.

“We endeavoured to develop our advice in a way that provides clear direction but also encourages responsiveness to change because we recognise the future is uncertain,” Mr Masson said.

Mr Masson said increasing capacity at the Port of Melbourne to 8 million TEU would require a holistic approach to ports planning and would require some existing trades to be relocated to Victoria’s other commercial ports.

“The Port of Hastings will be an important part of Victoria’s future commercial port network and is particularly well suited to handling automotive trade, while the Ports of Geelong and Portland could grow their existing trades and support emerging supply chains.

“Once the Port of Melbourne reaches 8 million TEU, we think it makes better economic, social and urban planning sense to move some container trade to a new port at Bay West.

“Bay West has strong transport, land use, environmental and amenity advantages when compared to Hastings. It can initially handle overflow container capacity, but is also well suited to becoming Melbourne’s future container port in the longer term,” Mr Masson said.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has supported Infrastructure Victoria’s advice.

“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,” ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff said.

“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.”

Infrastructure Victoria’s advice is not binding but is intended to assist the Government with ports planning and investment decisions to help Victoria maintain its competitiveness and increase its productivity.

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