I’ve had several discussions with the Port of Portland over the past three years and the clear message is that containerising the port is not viable.
What they want is an upgraded rail link, so heavier and longer trains are able to have direct links into Portland, giving the Port of Portland the same opportunity to compete with the Ports of Geelong and Melbourne for the booming bulk commodity export market.
It would also create an opportunity to take already containerised produce from South Australia, bound for the Port of Melbourne, to be put onto rail in the Portland area. This reduces the amount of truck movements on our roads and creates greater efficiencies for producers.
I’ve committed $200,000 towards the Portland Freight Movement Study which will look at opportunities to better move freight around the green triangle area, making better use of rail and taking trucks off the roads.
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel and telling private enterprise how they should operate, we need to let the Port of Portland get on with doing what they do extremely well, while providing supports through infrastructure upgrades to help them be more competitive and get more of our regional product to the world.