The Victorian Government's freight plan, Delivering the Goods, will ensure Victoria’s freight and logistics system meets the needs of a growing population and economy.

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Victorian Port and Coastal Shipping Industry Reform

As part of the development of a Victorian port strategy, the Victorian Government requested a review of Victorian coastal shipping to augment the recent national inquiry into coastal shipping.

The Victorian Government appreciates the time taken by shipping industry stakeholders to respond to the terms of reference for the Victorian Coastal Shipping Review. 

This work is in addition to the review underway into infrastructure pricing at, and access to and from the Port of Melbourne, brought forward following increases in stevedore infrastructure charges at the port.

Freight Victoria has consulted with and/or received submissions from freight customers and operators, shipping businesses, economic development organisations, unions, ports and channel authorities and port service providers to ensure their input helps shape the strategy and review.

A key focus of the Victorian Coastal Shipping Review was to examine the regional economic growth coastal shipping creates and identify ways to maximise the employment of

Victorian seafaring labour. A diverse range of issues were raised by stakeholders in the submissions, they included:

  • the current regulatory regime
  • uncertainty regarding the current regulatory regime
  • reduction in availability of skilled maritime labour
  • subsidisation of road transport
  • operating costs
  • the need for landside investment to support coastal shipping activity 
  • port planning requirements that facilitate coastal shipping 
  • identification of markets where coastal shipping can compete.

The issues and suggestions raised will be considered as part of the development of a Victorian port strategy.

Further consultation will be undertaken as required.

The submissions are available to download below:

The terms of reference for the review have been released and are available to download below:

Mode Shift Incentive Scheme

The Victorian Government is committed to getting trucks off local roads and giving exporters more options through the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme.

Over the past eight years, we’ve invested more than $30 million to make rail freight more cost effective and allow exporters to get their goods to port sooner.

The Victorian Government will provide $3.5 million to extend the scheme until 30 June 2023.

Under the scheme, four freight operators will receive incentives to move up to a combined 42,500 containers by rail, taking the equivalent of 28,000 truck trips every year off regional and urban roads and reducing truck congestion at the Port of Melbourne.  

Current recipients are:

  • Shepparton corridor – Linx Portlink (Tocumwal)
  • Horsham corridor – Wimmera Container Line (Dooen)
  • Warrnambool corridor – Westvic Container Export (Dennington)
  • Mildura corridor – Seaway Intermodal (Merbein)

We’re working hard to build better rail freight connections and get trucks off the local roads that Victorians use every day.

Intermodal terminals

An intermodal terminal is a location for the transfer of freight from one transport mode to another: for example between road and rail.

Intermodal hubs can play an important role in easing the transport burden on the ports and neighbouring areas. They are also essential if rail is to increase its role in the freight transport and distribution system.

A range of initiatives that seek to increase the volume of freight carried on rail, focuses on Victoria’s three rail markets.

  • Interstate, mainly inter-capital city freight, which operates over long distances on the ARTC standard-gauge network
  • Regional, mainly export trade from regional Victoria and southern NSW, which generally operates over shorter distances on the V/Line controlled broad-gauge network although also uses the southern NSW regional rail network to get to the Port of Melbourne
  • Metropolitan port-rail shuttles, which is a prospective market for rail and is currently handled almost exclusively by trucks on the arterial road network.

Terminal locations: metropolitan

Locality Operator
Spotswood Sadleirs
Laverton SCT Logistics
Dynon Qube
South Dynon Pacific National
ACFS Logistics ACFS
West Swanson Dock DP World
Victoria Dock Qube Logistics
Somerton Austrak

Terminal locations: regional

Locality Operator
Donald Peaco Ltd
Dooen SCT Logistics
Bairnsdale  Fenning Timbers
(start date to be coinfirmed) 
Maryvale Qube Logistics
Merbein Seaway Intermodal
Tocumwal Gray's Container Terminal
Warrnambool (Dennington) Seaway Intermodal
Deniliquin SunRice
Ultima Qube Logistics

Victorian Heavy Vehicle Licensing and Employment Pathways Review

The Victorian Heavy Vehicle Licensing and Employment Pathways Review will examine the heavy vehicle licensing system, driver competency and safety. 

The review will also evaluate career pathways into professional heavy vehicle driving within Victoria.

The streams of work align with national and strategic priorities as well as heavy vehicle industry concerns with driver licensing and employment opportunities. 

The review's first priority is to assess the heavy vehicle licensing framework from a Victorian perspective, which will inform improvements and initiatives for heavy vehicle licensing, assessment and training.

The review will then examine pathways for heavy vehicle drivers, identifying barriers and opportunities to address industry concerns about attracting and retaining drivers.

Victorian Transport Association President Peter Anderson is chairing the review group, supported by a panel of experts and representatives from Freight Victoria and VicRoads.

Heavy Vehicle Training Program

Safer, smarter and more capable drivers will be arriving on our roads as we continue to invest in heavy vehicle driver and safety training. 

With an enormous amount of freight being moved in Victoria daily, we’re investigating and developing employment pathways for people into this growing industry.

In partnership with the Victorian Transport Association, and other providers, drivers will be put through their paces to improve their road craft, level of driving skill and development of safety-first attitudes.

The VTA received $1 million in the 2017-18 Victorian Budget to fund three heavy vehicle education and training programs. 

The Cadetship and Driver Delivery programs were specifically targeted towards attracting and retaining younger employees in heavy vehicle driving and the transport sector.

Victoria’s new intermodal freight precincts

We’re planning to deliver new intermodal freight precincts at Truganina in Melbourne’s west and Beveridge in Melbourne’s outer north to service the state’s growing freight and logistics sector.

The role of the new precincts will be primarily to handle interstate freight, but also import and export container trade. 

The Australian and Victorian governments are developing a joint business case for precinct development that will also help ensure the new precincts support the Inland Rail Project in Melbourne from the commencement of train services.

These intermodal freight precincts and their connecting transport infrastructure will be delivered to supplement, and potentially replace, the existing terminal at Dynon.

They will be planned and developed in consultation with industry with a focus on maximising opportunities for private sector investment and job creation.

The precincts will help grow Victoria’s economy and jobs, enhance the state’s role as a leading freight and logistics hub and improve Melbourne’s liveability.

Learn more and download the intermodal freight precincts fact sheet [PDF 339 KB].

Port Rail Shuttle

By reducing truck numbers on roads, alleviating congestion around the inner city and making rail freight cheaper the Port Rail Shuttle Network (PRSN) is an opportunity to make a real difference to how short-haul rail freight moves around Melbourne.

A $58 million government initiative, including $38 million from the Commonwealth Government and $20 million from the Victorian Government, will see us leverage public land to encourage investment from the private sector in new rail connections and terminals.

The PRSN aims to enable an efficient and cost-effective alternative to road transport for the 87 per cent of import containers that travel to destinations less than 50 kilometres from the port gate.

This will see trucks deliver or pick up containers from the outer metropolitan rail terminals instead of traversing the city to the port.

Grants have been allocated to Austrak, Salta and SCT Logistics to connect their respective facilities at Somerton, Dandenong South and Altona to the existing rail network.

It’s anticipated these new rail connections will enable port rail shuttles to progressively commence running from 2022.

By 2050, the PRSN is expected to move 30 per cent of Melbourne’s containers by rail, avoiding millions of truck trips on roads each year.

Murray Basin Rail Project

The Murray Basin Rail Project will deliver important upgrades Victoria's rail freight network to meet increasing demand for freight services.  

The project will drive economic growth, create jobs and provide a major boost to the transport industry, agricultural sector and regional communities.

A revised business case for the Murray Basin Rail Project has been completed. 

In developing the revised business case, we have considered what work is needed to optimise Victoria’s existing freight lines. 

The Department of Transport and Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) carried out a series of detailed work, including:

  • Site assessments, walking the track to assess line conditions.
  • Network modelling to ensure sufficient train paths for the needs of industry.
  • Reviewed the original project drivers and objectives assessing demand forecasts and investment logic mapping. 
  • Consultation and feedback from primary producers and freight organisations. 

A summary of the revised business case and the executive summary can be downloaded here:

The revised business case was completed and provided to the Commonwealth Government in May 2020. 

Going forward, the Victorian and Commonwealth governments will jointly agree on the next steps.

The Department and RPV will continue to work closely with the Rail Freight Working Group and other key stakeholders as next steps are jointly progressed.

Bridge strengthening for freight

A program of bridge strengthening is designed to bolster the productivity of the freight network by increasing the capacity of the road and rail overpasses that dot the network.

Bridge strengthening delivers an immediate efficiency dividend by better connecting Victoria’s freight to its destination.

The program that is particularly beneficial to Victoria’s primary producers, who rely on road transport for at least the first leg - and often the entire journey - to port.

Bridges with access restrictions force road transport operators to use vehicles with less payload capacity to move freight less efficiently or use more circuitous routes to service their customers, adding cost and damaging Victoria’s export competitiveness.

Most Victorian bridges were built when the heaviest combination on the network was only 33 tonnes.

Even a number of freeways built as recently as the 1990s have overpasses unable to cater for the industry’s most efficient road-freight combinations.

Up to date information on current and proposed bridge strengthening projects can be found on the "HPFV B-Double" and "HPFV A-Doubles" maps on the VicRoads website.

High productivity freight vehicles

Vehicles designed to higher safety standards that emit fewer noise and exhaust emissions are moving more freight with less impact.

The community and the freight industry are sharing the benefits of the more widespread use of road-freight combinations that are quieter, cleaner and feature technological innovations that boost safety.

Industries involved in the freight and supply chain systems can visit our heavy vehicles page for more information.

West Gate Tunnel

The West Gate Tunnel will enable permanent curfews on parts of Francis Street, Moore Street, Somerville Road, Buckley Street, Blackshaws Road and Husdons Road, while providing high-productivity freight vehicles direct access to Swanson Dock at the Port of Melbourne.

North East Link

The North East Link will connect the freight-generating areas of the metropolitan south east with regional and interstate markets, while clearing residential areas of heavy truck traffic.

Extractive Industries in South Gippsland Supply Chain Study

The South Gippsland region has been identified as one of the top five strategic extractive resource locations in Victoria.

It is a critical location for hard rock, sand and gravel, driven partly by its proximity to markets in greater Melbourne.

The region includes Lang Lang, Nyora and Grantville through to Leongatha South and the primary transport routes westwards from South Gippsland pass through Cardinia Shire and the City of Casey before dispersing across greater Melbourne.

The scope of the study includes origin and destination of materials, annual volumes from South Gippsland, options to improve capacity and efficiency of the freight transport system, and implications in terms of investment and planning processes.

Read the study below:

Shepparton Rail Freight Planning Study

The Shepparton Rail Freight Planning Study will lead to enhanced freight capacity, ensuring we maximise the benefits for both freight and passenger services on the line.

Now underway, he $10 million study is jointly funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth governments.

It includes a $9 million package of rail freight infrastructure upgrades.

The Shepparton line upgrade has already delivered benefits for passengers, with 10 new weekly services introduced in April 2019 thanks to work completed on stage one.

Stage two of the $356 million project will deliver further upgrades to enable the more modern VLocity trains to run for the first time along the line.