$10 million incentive to move regional truck trips to rail

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Aerial of transport connections to Geelong Port

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder today (3 July, 2012) announced the successful recipients of funding for its new $10 million rail freight incentive scheme.

The Victorian Coalition Government’s new Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS) aims to encourage the use of rail freight and relieve congestion on Port of Melbourne and regional roads.

Mr Mulder said the six companies which received funding had committed to moving almost 50,000 containers or the equivalent of 65,000 truck trips into and out of the Port of Melbourne by rail instead of road.

“The Coalition Government is committed to increasing the amount of freight carried by rail in Victoria and this is a major boost to rail freight,” Mr Mulder said.

“This new initiative increases the mode shift commitment to six companies from four under a previous program, greatly increasing the number of containers being moved by rail and encouraging competition.

“This is a big win for rural communities across Victoria and will significantly reduce the number of trucks on local roads and regional highways.”

“It has the added benefit of boosting regional businesses and employment.”

The companies which have received funding are:

   •  Tocumwal corridor - Patrick Container and Regional Port Enterprises;
   •  Horsham corridor - Wimmera Container Line (WCL) and Qube Holdings;
   •  Warrnambool corridor – Wettenhalls; and
   •  Mildura corridor - Iron Horse Intermodal

Mr Mulder said the MSIS encouraged industry to increase the amount of freight carried on rail by providing incentives to move containerised freight movement from road to rail.

In order to be successful, applicants had to compete for funding and demonstrate they could provide the greatest economic, environmental and social benefits from reducing truck movements and shifting to rail.

“Promoting competition and adopting a rigorous approach to calculating the benefits has enabled an increase in the number of companies receiving funding and the overall number of containers being moved by rail by around
16,000 per year,” Mr Mulder said.

“We have had a great response to the scheme, demonstrating there is a strong interest and commitment to moving more freight on rail.”

Minister for Ports Denis Napthine said the containers moved on rail are all destined for the Port of Melbourne and will include products such as containerised grain, meat, dairy, fruit and wine.

“We are committed to retaining the Port of Melbourne as Australia’s largest container port” Dr Napthine said.

“This scheme not only encourages greater efficiency and innovation in the freight sector, it also reduces road congestion in and around the port.”