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West Gate Tunnel Project
Expected to commence early 2018, the West Gate Tunnel Project, upon completion propose a 24/7 'ban' on trucks through the roads of inner west Melbourne. The Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA), representing majority of transport operators throughout Melbourne have spoke out about the issue, calling on the government to give transport operators a fair go with toll pricing to accesss the West Gate Tunnel.

CTAA director Neil Chambers said, “not surprisingly, container transport operators in the inner and outer Western industrial suburbs undertake numerous truck trips to and from the Port of Melbourne during the day, at night and on weekends, to service vital container trade volumes through the biggest container port in Australia. With the government announcement that 24/7 truck bans will be applied to many inner western suburb roads once the West Gate Tunnel is completed, it is vital that the government ensures that container transport operators receive a “fair go” with the tolling structure and prices.”

“The container transport task to and from the West of Melbourne comprises of full import and export containers, as well as empty container movements. Indeed, the largest export commodity through the Port of Melbourne is empty containers being repatriated overseas by shipping lines where they can best be used for their next full cargo. The movement of empty containers is therefore a vital part of the landside logistics chain, but the cost pressures in doing so are high, therefore a high toll price would be unsustainable,” Mr Chambers observed.

Additionally, CTAA calls on the government to undertake a review of the adequacy of the arterial and local road infrastructure in the inner west that will be subject to more heavy vehicle traffic once the 24/7 truck curfews are implemented.

“Unlike today, where heavy vehicle container movements between Footscray Road and the Swanson Dock precinct of the Port and Webb Dock can be counted in the dozens per day, when the new Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) reaches higher throughput volumes (up to 1.2 million TEU), there will be hundreds of heavy trucks on that route – night and day.

The government needs to protect these vital freight routes or to find alternative solutions that separate freight movements from congested roads and residential developments.