Melbourne container terminal capacity and land transport access

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Melbourne container terminal capacity and land transport access

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Melbourne container terminal capacity and land transport access

A graphic of the Australian continent with shaded State of Victoria, and small dot representing Melbourne.
Melbourne, Vic
Fast-growing cities
National Connectivity
Victorian Government
Various (0-15 years)
17 February 2016

The Port of Melbourne is Victoria’s busiest port and the largest container and general cargo port in Australia. Container traffic at the port is projected to grow by 2.6% per year, from 2.9 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2018 to around 9 million TEUs in 2050. The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit identified that, even with planned expansions, additional container terminal capacity will be required before 2031.

The development of additional container terminal capacity in Melbourne – with dedicated connections to the port, proposed metropolitan terminals, regional hubs and the national rail system – will help to alleviate congestion caused by road freight movements.

Currently, only around 10% of the Port of Melbourne’s container trade is moved by rail, with no imported containers being moved by rail. This places significant pressure on the surrounding road network, which carries the remaining share. Given Melbourne’s central role in Australia’s freight supply chain, inadequate port capacity and transport access in Melbourne could have broader national consequences.

Early-stage Proposal

The proposal proposes planning and construction of additional container terminal capacity in Melbourne to cater for projected increases in containerised freight volumes and appropriate landside connections to ensure the efficient landside movement of these containers.

This proposal includes optimising the capacity of existing ports, as well as longer- term planning and potential site preservation for future facilities. Infrastructure Victoria has advised the Victorian Government that Bay West should be the preferred location for a second major container port.

This proposal was updated in February 2019 to include the near-term landside transport interventions needed to support increased port capacity, including road and rail access from metropolitan, regional and national networks.

In 2020, Port of Melbourne Operations released the 2050 Port Development Strategy, outlining options to improve port efficiency and capacity over 30 years.

The Victorian Government will also prepare a Victorian Ports Strategy to outline how Victoria’s future exports and imports could be handled across current and future commercial ports. At the same time, the Victorian Government will undertake further planning work to confirm Bay West as the preferred site for a second major container port.

Access for higher capacity vessels should also be considered as part of this planning. Separate proposals for East coast deep water container port capacity and Rail access to Webb Dock are included on the Infrastructure Priority List.

Next Steps

Proponent to identify and analyse potential investment options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).

The Australian Government has allocated $7.5 million to undertake planning for a rail link to the Port of Melbourne and connecting terminals.

Refer to Infrastructure Glossary for terms and definitions.