Broadbent Grain is the prime tenant of the Ballarat West Employment Zone at the moment. Currently they dispatch containerized grain on A-Double trucks via the Western Highway. Usually only one loaded 20ft container per trailer, which is not particularly efficient.
The fact that the expression of interest documents state that construction of a grain pit is desirable indicates that Broadbent Grain would receive grain at the site, so provision of standard gauge seems essential. This could all be tied up with the Ballarat Freight Separation project, which is going on in the background.
City of Ballarat want this project to go ahead. Lots of cash has been splashed already, especially on the partly completed ring road, which could aptly be described as the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". The ring road bridge over the Ararat line was constructed with sufficient room to allow rail entry into the BWEZ
Another proposed major development, for which a Heads of Lease agreement has lapsed, is a waste to energy plant, which has been described by the proponent as commercially viable. It would use up to 400,000 tons of waste per annum, most of which would need to be transported in. At the moment there are A-Doubles of 40ft containers transporting waste from near Dandenong to Ravenhall. At some future stage some of this may be re-directed to Ballarat for the above concept to get up, but without an intermodal terminal at Ballarat being locked in, this proposal is unlikely to proceed.
So, will Ballarat see port rail shuttles when the Port of Melbourne provides better rail access? Will there be a response to the EOI? Time will tell if private enterprise is willing to come up with the cash to get this off the ground.