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Call for progress on inland rail freight centre to tackle container truck problems

Jul 5, 2017

The peak advocacy group for Melbourne's west is calling for the Andrews Government to urgently progress development for an inland rail terminal for freight to relocate shipping container parks and get dangerous and polluting truck traffic off roads and stimulate jobs growth in Melbourne's west.

While truck bans have been announced on Francis, Somerville and Buckley streets as part of the West Gate Tunnel project, LeadWest estimates the majority of the 10,000 truck trips along those streets involve the transport of shipping containers which are being transported to and from the port to empty container parks located in Tottenham, Brooklyn, West Footscray and Yarraville.

The Western Interstate Freight Terminal (WIFT) is outlined in Plan Melbourne to be built in Truganina and has been in pre-feasibility stage for years without progress.

With community concern growing over the impact of announced truck bans on Millers Road, LeadWest is calling for the WIFT to be developed urgently so container parks and associated traffic can be relocated to a more appropriate location.

As this type of trucking usually involves slim profit margins, often the vehicles are old and poor quality, worsening the impacts on communities.

Developing the Western Interstate Freight Terminal and associated freight activity centre would enable container parks to be relocated and the transport of both full and empty containers to the port occur via rail.

"Empty shipping containers are almost the biggest export from the Port of Melbourne," said LeadWest CEO Craig Rowley.

"Empty shipping containers are stored in container parks in Brooklyn and Tottenham and then trucked in their thousands to the Port of Melbourne along residential streets.

"It's a ridiculous situation that could be solved if the Andrews Government used the money it has already allocated to progress the Western interstate freight terminal.

"Building the WIFT would also help create more jobs here in the west where the majority of Melbourne's population growth is occurring."

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