In May 2016, the Special Minister of State requested Infrastructure Victoria develop independent advice on when to invest in container port capacity and whether a second container port should be located at the existing Port of Hastings, or a new Bay West location.

There are three key elements of the advice:

Capacity of Victoria’s existing commercial ports should be optimised, having regard to social and environmental factors, before any investment in a second major container port.

The Port of Melbourne should be developed to a capacity of approximately 8 million TEU, with some trades relocated to Victoria’s other commercial ports at Hastings, Portland and Geelong. Capacity at the Port of Melbourne could be increased to approximately 8 million TEU without building a dedicated road and rail Freight Link through Fishermans Bend to Webb Dock.

A second major container port will not be required until the Port of Melbourne reaches approximately 8 million TEU which is likely to be around 2055.

Detailed development planning for a second major container port needs to begin approximately 15 years prior to the port being required. Based on current analysis and projections, detailed planning for a second major container port should begin around 2040, with the new port to begin operation around 2055. Land use planning actions to secure necessary need to be taken as soon as possible.

Bay West is the preferred location for a second major container port.

Bay West has strong transport, land use, environmental and amenity advantages, when compared to Hastings. Bay West is a good option for catering to container demand once capacity at the Port of Melbourne has been exhausted and is also well suited to becoming Melbourne’s future container port in the long term.

To support implementation of our advice, Infrastructure Victoria has made 19 recommendations to the Victorian Government in the following six themes:

  • Monitor and publicly report on key port related indicators
  • Optimise the capacity of existing ports
  • Understand the variables that may alter planning timelines
  • Preserve long-term port options
  • Baseline and monitor environmental conditions
  • Optimise governance of Victorian ports
You can read the advice to government here.