More investment means more jobs, more freight on rail

The Albanese and Andrews Labor governments have welcomed significant private sector investment to build and operate a $400 million intermodal freight terminal in Melbourne’s north.

Intermodal Terminal Company (ITC) announced it would soon start construction of the Somerton Intermodal Terminal, which will be a key node in the Australian and Victorian governments’ $58 million Port Rail Shuttle Network.

The terminal will create jobs, remove thousands of truck movements from suburban roads, reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency as well as safety for producers, farmers, freight operators and exporters.

When at capacity, ITC expect the Somerton Intermodal Terminal to take 500,000 truck trips off Melbourne’s roads – equivalent to 454 million truck kilometres. Each year, it will also save 451 million litres of fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 189,000 tonnes.

Both Labor governments want to move more freight by rail in the state – by 2050, the Port Rail Shuttle Network is expected to move 30 per cent of Melbourne’s containers by rail from Somerton, Altona and Dandenong South to the Port of Melbourne, avoiding thousands of truck trips on roads each year.

The Port Rail Shuttle Network will enable trucks to deliver or pick up containers from these hubs in outer metropolitan Melbourne instead of driving to the Port of Melbourne, which is in turn investing $125 million for on-dock rail infrastructure to cater for these shuttle trains.

The Somerton Intermodal Terminal will be built at the Austrak Business Park and is forecast to create 190 jobs during construction and a further 50 permanent jobs for Victorians once the terminal is operational in 2025.

ITC was launched in December 2022 and is backed by one of Australia’s leading super funds, Aware Super, which last year also entered into a joint venture operation with the Victorian Government to operate the Registration and Licencing and Custom Plates businesses for VicRoads.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Catherine King

“The Port Rail Shuttle Network will not only enhance the strategic importance of local freight and logistics operators – it will also deliver efficiencies and cost-savings for businesses.

“The shuttle network will also deliver a huge safety boost for motorists by moving freight off the roads and onto rail. I’m thrilled to see this private sector backing for the landmark, project.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne

“The Somerton Intermodal Terminal is a city-shaping project – this private investment will supercharge job creation and support our commitment to move more freight by rail to port.

“These direct rail connections will get trucks off roads, increase safety, reduce emissions and cut the cost of doing business for producers, farmers, exporters and operators.”

Quote attributable to Federal Member for Calwell Maria Vamvakinou

“This investment will create opportunities for the people of Melbourne’s North and will also help ease congested roads with the benefit that people can get home from their work quicker and safer.”

Quote attributable to State Member for Greenvale Iwan Walters

“This is a fantastic announcement for our freight and logistics precinct and will create new jobs right here in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.”

Quote attributable to State Member for Broadmeadows Kathleen Matthews-Ward

“This investment in Melbourne’s north is great news for our community – supporting jobs on the ground, while also supporting our state’s busy freight industry.”

Quotes attributable to ITC Founder and CEO Mishkel Maharaj

“ITC is delighted to announce the Somerton Intermodal Terminal as the first independently constructed, maintained and operated terminal in our portfolio.

“We’re especially pleased that once operational, the terminal will deliver additional benefits to the people of Melbourne every single day of its operation – through reduced carbon emissions and air pollution, reduced road congestion and improved road safety.”