Lack of rail driving Melbourne to lose 'number one' container port status

 

News article: Lack of rail driving Melbourne to lose 'number one' container port status

Sydney is likely to overtake Melbourne in the near future as the biggest container port in Australia, an outcome that will impact on business growth and the city's industrial property markets.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Guys, in all fairness I have been warning about this for some time.  The port of Melbourne has made rail access very very difficult and customers are voting with their feet.

Nothing much happens in Victoria with regard to rail and the port.  Webb Dock will be a 1 million containers a year with no rail access.  Incredible.

I would be going north also but Adelaide is also a good option if they can keep their costs down.  

Rail into the Port of Melbourne has been a problem for some timer since Kennet killed West Swanston and Webb Dock.

The Port of Melbourne listed Webb Dock rail access as the number 1 project for transport.  Nothing happened.

Lack of rail driving Melbourne to lose 'number one' container port status

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  NSWGR8022 Chief Train Controller

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
The Port of Melbourne is also to blame.  They have stood back and allowed rail connections to be cut to the port assets.  Why Melbourne has to cripple itself on many projects is a mystery.

Why are there not more sidings on the port with the ability to run trains directly onto the port which was the historical way.  The news article states this is what rail operators are looking for.

What about Webb Dock?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks guys.  You are both right.  I've commented previously on this before. The Port of Melbourne has paid total lip service to both the current Government, previous Government and the Brumby Government in regard to enhancing the pivotal role plays in the whole logistics chain.   Each one of the Government administrations showed a committment to rail and the former Coalition Government to their credit actually went to Sydney and had a look at Port Botany and Moorebank and were impressed with what they saw.   This resulted in the committment of funding to create inland ports at Somerton, Lyndhurst, Altona etc and the commencement of negotiations by QUBE with the terminal operators/owners to develop broad and standard gauge PortLink Shuttles.   The Port administration were told loud and clear what the stated airms of the Inland Port concept was all about which was to increase rail volumes direct to the port to reduce the double handing of containers (costly) as well as speed up clearance times for customs etc.   The other major spin off was of course the significant reduction in container trucking movements through Footscray etc but equally importantly because any traucking of containers would be increasingly diverted to the three "inland" ports.

Port of Melbourne's response was two fold.   Do nothing in terms of the rail connections in terms of actively facilitating port shuttles and improved rail access, tat and secondly to jack up handling fees for containers resulting in the virtual elimination of the Adelaide to Melbourne dedicated liner train, diversion of the enormously successful Visy products Harefield train to Port Botany and evidence of increased trucking of boxes out of northern Victoria to both Port Botay and Adelaide.

This has left the remaining rail traffic being largely broad gauge or that locked up in long term contracts.

This really is a corporation that was out of control which in recent years was supported by the state with the massive channel deepening project etc.  How the port administration has been able stonewall these efforts and lose market share is breathtaking.

The only bright light going forward is that at least 2 of the consortia bidding for the Melbourne Port sale have made it clear that high quality DIRECT rail access is critical in making the port competitive and that clearly is exemplified by the growth of Port Botany.   Even in WA the Government drove a policy to increase rail use to Fremantle and backed that up with an investment in a new rail link and new container handling space at North Fremantle.

We now have a Government that has committed to further gauge standardization so getting the port/rail interface is going to be critical if this is going to achieve its full potential
  NSWGR8022 Chief Train Controller

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
This is quite a good post @Trainplanner

I agree with your comments and feel the management of the Port of Melbourne have not done a very good job for the people of Victoria but most of all the customers of the port.  I believe there will be a lot more traffic leave the port for Sydney and Adelaide (they both have excellent rail access) before anything gets better.

Port ministers like Donnellan (and previous ministers) have been asleep at the wheel.  

This week we have read about a Japanese Company in Echuca crying out for rail access.  Now Qube.  PN is winding its Melbourne business down.  Inland ports have been talked about but why can't they get these off the ground?

is it because of the lack of rail access into the Port?

I am also told containers are taken off rail at the intermodal terminals at Dynon and "trucked" across the road to the port.  Is this true?
  NSWGR8022 Chief Train Controller

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Another export customer wanting rail access

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/japanese-tomato-processor-kagome-calls-for-action-on-water-transport-and-energy-policy
  emmastreet Train Controller

Location: Goulburn Valley
Can you tell us what this company exports.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
ANY government in the past 50 or so years sits on its hand when it comes to big developments. Just ask the mob who own Hazelwood how long it'll take to get through planning permissions on to build other sources of energy to replace Hazelwood.
  QSB6.7 Chief Train Controller

Location: Going off the rails on a crazy train.


I am also told containers are taken off rail at the intermodal terminals at Dynon and "trucked" across the road to the port.  Is this true?
NSWGR8022
This is exactly what happens.
  pvcommuter Station Master

Can you tell us what this company exports.
emmastreet
Mainly tomato paste. Potentially upwards of 100kt. Not particularly seasonal. Drums in containers.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
ANY government in the past 50 or so years sits on its hand when it comes to big developments. Just ask the mob who own Hazelwood how long it'll take to get through planning permissions on to build other sources of energy to replace Hazelwood.
speedemon08
The greenies are all up In arms about any plans to build a new modern plant to replace the existing dinosaur.

So Hazelwood will chug along for the foreseeable future until It becomes unprofitable to operate.

Really great result for the environment and general efficacy.

The once planed 4000 MW Driffield power station complex (feeding off the Hazelwood mine) would of replaced Morwell and Hazelwood power station and eventually Yallourn Power station (as units were built and commissioned)

Loy Yang B2 or would that be "C" was also meant to be built
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Trapped in a meeting with Rhonda and Karsten
Hazelwood was due to begin unit-by-unit retirement in 1996/1997 when it was only around 30 years old, but this was replaced with a significant station refurbishment program because it was seen as having a far lower risk.

This ran counter to the SECV's intention to build Latrobe Valley power stations with short lifespans (30-40 years) that would 'move' with the mining operations, updating the power station technology as they went instead of complicated in-situ refurbishments.

Instead, Hazelwood is consuming coal from the mining area that the Driffield stations were meant to be using.

Loy Yang B2 or would that be "C" was also meant to be built
Nightfire


Every document I've seen refers to the 'completion' of Loy Yang B as Loy Yang B Units 3 & 4.  Loy Yang C is different altogether - it was a possible third power station to be built to the east of the existing units, relying on a significant eastward expansion of the Loy Yang Mine. It was studied as an alternative to Driffield back in the late 70s/early 80s.

And to make things even more complicated, HRL's much more recent Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant (which burns brown coal as a gas in a big jet engine) was also to be named Driffield!

Anyhow, the time for building new power stations in the 'Valley has passed. HRL's Driffield project was the last real shot at a 'greenfields' coal-burning plant, EnergyAustralia's Yallourn Combined Cycle Gas Turbine plant (burning Bass Strait gas) has fallen over thanks to 'market forces' and there doesn't seem to be any progress on the proposed Hazelwood coal-fired ultra-supercritical pilot plant.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Getting back on Topic.........................

The Port of Melbourne is very likely doomed as any kind of main port as it cannot take the newer very large container vessels (15.2metre,49.9ft draft) currently being built, orders around the world for this class of vessel are on the increase. The port will slowly become a backwater and Victoria will NOT be a major cargo destination UNLESS it builds another deep water port.

The Port of Geelongs channel depth is currently only 12.5 metres (41ft) depth so neither it or the port of Melbourne can take fully loaded vessels larger than around 60,000 tons. The channels to both ports are very long (around 60 kilometres) and its VERY unlikely they can be deepend significantly.

Its quite likely that the Port of Melbourne managment is simply being practical as spending large sums on a port that is doomed to decline would not be the wisest thing to do.

If Victoria wishes to remain a major cargo ship destination a new deep water port is essential. Inspite of EVERBODYS objections there are only three options, NO port, Port of Hastings, or Portland. There IS NO OTHER CHOICE.

woodford

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