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Second container port should be on Melbourne’s west

Dear Editor,

I welcome the news that Infrastructure Victoria believes that this state’s second container port should be located to Melbourne’s west and near to Geelong rather than at Hastings, 74 kilometres east of Melbourne.

Melbourne is the fastest growing city in Australia.

The Port of Melbourne is Australia’s leading container port.

More than 80 per cent of the Port of Melbourne’s import containers are destined for locations within the Melbourne metropolitan area.

More than 80 per cent of rural and regional Victorians also depend on the Port of Melbourne for the supply and export of goods.

However, it concerns me that Infrastructure Victoria has said the second port will not be needed until 2055.

That is, for reasons perhaps known only to the Andrews Government, Infrastructure Victoria does not believe the Port of Melbourne will reach capacity (about eight million standard “20- foot” container movements a year) for another 38 years.

This is a concern because it completely defies the forecasts, findings and recommendations contained in an independent report published less than two months ago by the Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics which puts that horizon at less than 20 years.

That centre – backed by Deakin University – in March reported that if the 2.64 million standard container movements handled by the Port of Melbourne in 2015/16 continued to grow by 3.5 per cent a year, the port would reach capacity (which it believes to be about five million standard “20- foot” container movements a year) in just 19 years.

The Deakin experts were so adamant the Port of Melbourne would reach capacity by 2036 that they insisted the State Government would need to “make a decision” before the end of 2017/2018 because it would then take at least 15 years to plan, site and build the second port from scratch.

Deferring that decision for another decade is not an option.