More rail freight services will run from East Gippsland to the Port of Melbourne this year thanks to the Fenning Intermodal Freight Terminal (FIFT) in Bairnsdale.
A test train arrived today for the first time since rail freight to Bairnsdale ceased in 2009.
The milestone comes as part of stage one the FIFT site, which is a purpose-built dedicated intermodal freight terminal to make rail freight more efficient for producers and businesses.
The site will also see significant development in the future, including the expansion of the freight terminal with increased warehouse capacity and storage facilities.
When regular services begin, it’s expected that three freight trains per week will transport more than 10,000 containers every year to the Port of Melbourne by rail, removing more than 6000 truck trips from regional roads and delivering long term benefits to the Gippsland economy.
The Victorian Budget 2022/23 will deliver $181 million for critical maintenance works on the regional rail freight network to improve rail freight competitiveness and support the growing freight task that is vital to regional economies and supply chains.
In addition, a further $3.5 million has been allocated to extend the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme (MSIS). The MSIS supports more than 170 freight industry jobs at intermodal terminals in regional Victoria and removes the equivalent of 28,000 truck trips from the state’s roads every year.
The rail freight upgrades are being supported with funding from the Victorian Forestry Plan which provides more than $200 million to support workers, businesses and communities. There is a planned transition with a stepped-down approach until 2030 that offers opportunities for the industry to diversify into different ways of working.