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Deferring freight hub in Melbourne’s west is a mistake, says VTA

The CEO of the Victorian Transport Association, Peter Anderson, has said that the state government’s decision to postpone a long-promised freight hub for Melbourne’s west is a mistake.  

Anderson told Big Rigs that prioritising the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal over the Western Interstate Freight Terminal (WIFT) in Truganina will lead to long queues of trucks on the roads and lower productivity.  

“The Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal is something that anybody in logistics will want to see, of course,” he said.  

“But it comes down to priorities – which hub is most important, and will give the best return in the shortest possible time.  

“The VTA believes that the Western Interstate Freight Terminal would have given us a faster return, shorter distances to travel, greater productivity, more efficiency and less truck kilometres travelled on our roads.

“This is a disappointing decision.”

Victoria’s official freight strategy states that both the Truganina and Beveridge hubs will be needed to handle double-stacked trains that will travel along the national Inland Rail corridor, which is currently under construction. 

Anderson pointed out that the Truganina site is significantly closer to the customers the rail line will serve.  

“We have to get the freight to the customer, and the majority of those customers are currently in the west, in the warehouses of Laverton and Truganina,” he said.  

“That means freight will have to travel 25km down the M80 from Beveridge.  

“We’ll have 400 to 800 extra trucks on that freeway every day, which will lead to more safety issues.” 

 The delay of the Western Interstate Freight Terminal is a major u-turn for the Victorian government, which had previously fought for the Truganina freight hub to be delivered before or at the same time as the Beveridge site.  

In a recent statement, the state government said that “things had changed” since they recommended the development of the WIFT in 2021.  

These changes include the Commonwealth pushing forward with the Beveridge site following a review of the Inland Rail Project, as well as private freight projects which will handle interstate freight as well as the import and export container trade.     

“These Commonwealth and the private sector terminals will provide sufficient capacity to handle forecast interstate freight volumes in Melbourne over the medium term,” a spokesperson said.  

“While the WIFT remains a priority for the Victorian Government, its delivery will be deferred until when it’s needed. 

“The government will now look at protecting land at Truganina for WIFT.This process may also help unlock land not required for WIFT for industrial development in the short term.” 

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