THE AUSTRALIAN Government-owned National Intermodal Corporation has exercised an option to acquire land at Beveridge, which it has identified as a suitable site for a terminal connecting to Inland Rail.
Beveridge is one of three intermodal terminals in the pipeline for Melbourne, with the privately-funded Somerton Intermodal Terminal also touted as the ideal Inland Rail connection end point.
The site is located 40km north of the Melbourne CBD and will be on the Tottenham-to-Albury section of the Inland Rail.
When developed, the site will have the ability to offer the efficiency of double-stacked services for 1800m freight trains traveling to Perth in Western Australia via Parkes in central New South Wales as well as Brisbane, Queensland, as the proposed northern terminus of Inland Rail.
It will also enable a more efficient rail-service connection into the Federal Government-supported Moorebank Interstate Terminal in Sydney, due to be operational in less than 12 months.
Next steps for the terminal will be guided by the Inland Rail Review undertaken by Kerry Schott, and the Federal Government’s response.
Early planning is under way to support potential interstate rail services at Beveridge as soon as possible, with full terminal and precinct warehouse operations by 2028-29.
The precinct will also see upgrades to key road corridors including the Camerons Lane-Hume Highway intersection.
“Acquiring the land at Beveridge is an important milestone in the development of Melbourne’s modern, efficient intermodal terminals,” National Intermodal CEO James Baulderstone said.
“The Beveridge terminal, when operational, will greatly enhance the resilience of our national supply chain.”
Aurizon signs MOU
Mr Baulderstone said National Intermodal has also announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Aurizon as the foundation customer for the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal.
“We have been pleased with industries’ interest, both as a customer and also partner in the development of Melbourne intermodal terminals.
“Aurizon’s interest in the Beveridge terminal is a genuine demonstration of industry support for new, independent, interstate terminal capacity.”
“We will continue our engagement with other industry participants who have expressed significant interest in the Beveridge Intermodal Precinct and who share the vision of a revitalised rail-freight sector delivering enhanced resilience and lower costs to Australian businesses and families.”
Sited purchased from Qube
National Intermodal purchased the option to acquire the 1100ha site from Australian logistics firm Qube.
As part of the transaction, Qube will have the option to reacquire up to 200ha of land for its own purposes, separate to the proposed National Intermodal terminal.
“We’re pleased that National Intermodal has exercised its option to acquire the land necessary for the future development of a new intermodal facility with associated warehousing at Beveridge,” Qube managing director Paul Digney said in a statement.
“This will be vital both to the development of Inland Rail and to the creation of better linkages to national and global markets for Australia’s industries and regions.
“The expansion of Australia’s freight infrastructure is critical to supporting economic growth, and moving more freight on rail will help reduce road congestion and contribute to the task of reducing emissions in the transport sector.”
Mr Digney said Qube intended to continue to assess the opportunity for investment at Beveridge as part of its broader intermodal rail strategy, in order to determine what role Qube should play to maximise value for its shareholders.
This may include investment directly by Qube, or in conjunction with suitable partners.
No significant investment is expected to be undertaken by Qube in respect of the Beveridge development in the short to medium term.
Second northern terminal
The announcement comes after the Aware Super-backed Intermodal Terminal Company would be constructing a $400-million intermodal terminal in Somerton, also located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
Somerton is approximately 20km south of Beveridge.
ITC said the Somerton site will be completed by 2025, three to four years ahead of the Beveridge facility.
The Victorian Government came out in support of the Somerton project earlier this year, with Minister for Ports Melissa Horne calling the plan a “city-shaping project” which would “support our commitment to move more freight by rail to port”.
Inland Rail solution unclear
The Federal Government is backing a two-terminal strategy rather than a single-terminal solution.
Other than the Beveridge location, the government is also investigating a site at Truganina, in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
The terminal strategy is the subject of the Inland Rail Review, due to be released soon.
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