Victorian Freight Network Strategy
for a more prosperous and liveable Victoria
The ability to move goods effi ciently, seamlessly
and sustainably around Victoria makes a signifi cant
contribution to the prosperity and liveability
of our State.
Transport costs fl ow directly on to the costs
of everyday goods on our supermarket shelves
and affect the competitiveness of our export
The location of freight activity areas and the
way we move goods between them – the modes,
the types of vehicles, the routes and the times
of day – can also have a signifi cant impact on the
amenity of particular communities and the
liveability of the State generally.
As Victoria’s population and economy continue to
grow strongly, so does the size of the freight task,
placing added pressure on existing infrastructure
and systems and requiring us to look to the future
to ensure that we make the right decisions now.
For these reasons, all Victorians have an interest
in ensuring that our freight networks, systems and
infrastructure continue to perform well in meeting
the current and future freight task.
Freight Futures is the Victorian Government’s long
term plan for achieving this objective.
Freight Futures recognises that the movement of
freight is primarily a private sector activity and that
the Government’s role is best focussed on aspects
of the task on which it can have a material and
benefi cial impact.
For this reason, Freight Futures does not attempt
to address every aspect of freight supply chain
development and management, but rather focuses
on the freight network – its planning, delivery and
The Victorian Government, in close cooperation
with industry and other levels of Government,
has a clear responsibility for ensuring that each
of these aspects of the freight task are properly
addressed and supported.
Over the past two years, I have spent considerable
time and energy discussing and debating with
industry, local government and community
stakeholders the problems and issues confronting
Victoria’s freight network and how we might best
work cooperatively to build an effi cient and
I believe Freight Futures refl ects the positive
outcomes of this engagement and reinforces the
need to continue such processes as we move
forward into delivery, review and refi nement stages.
Of particular importance in delivering Freight
Futures will be the need to engage with the exciting
new national infrastructure agenda being created
by the Commonwealth Government. Much of the
signifi cant investment which will be required to
implement Freight Futures will be of a scale
which is beyond the capacity of any one State
to resource alone. This is particularly the case
in relation to the major capital infrastructure
investments recommended by Sir Rod Eddington’s
report, Investing in Transport.
I believe the directions and initiatives in
Freight Futures are entirely consistent with the
Commonwealth Government’s new agenda and
the key recommendations of Investing in Transport
and I look forward to a productive partnership
with our Commonwealth counterparts in
implementing this new agenda.
A key feature of Victoria’s freight network is that
most of it is a shared network, whether it is trucks
with private vehicles on our freeways and arterial
roads, or freight trains with passenger trains on
the public transport system. Generally, this shared
approach is the best means of optimising the
utilisation of our freight network. However, it does
mean a cooperative approach to the freight and
passenger interfaces in the more densely
traffi cked parts of the network in the metropolitan
area will become increasingly important in the
early resolution of potential issues and achieving
the best possible utilization of our valuable
In developing Freight Futures, we have looked
closely at approaches adopted in other
jurisdictions, both in Australia and internationally.
While this has been useful in understanding the
range of possible options available to us, it has not
replaced the need for us to tailor an approach
which is quite specifi c to Victoria, recognising
our place in the national and global economies,
our previous patterns of infrastructure investment
and our own community attitudes and aspirations.
Freight Futures forms an important companion
document to The Victorian Transport Plan and
was developed in close collaboration with that
document. It is both consistent with The Victorian
Transport Plan and provides detailed support and
elaboration of the Government’s thinking in relation
to freight in the Plan.
I look forward now to getting on with the job
of implementing the Freight Futures vision and
Strategic Directions. It is clear we have a major
task ahead of us, but a task that can’t be deferred
if we are to maintain Victoria’s position as the
nation’s pre-eminent freight State.
Minister for Roads and Ports
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Freight Futures Victorian Freight Network Strategy 1
• The need for a Victorian Freight Network Strategy 3
• The policy context 4
• A partnership approach 5
Goals, Objectives and Priorities 7
• Goals 7
• Objectives 7
• Priorities 7
The Freight Challenge 9
• Drivers of change in the freight industry 9
• An overview of the Victorian Freight Story 13
Responding to the Challenge 19
Strategic Directions 23
• Planning and protecting the freight network 24
• Building and maintaining the freight network 46
• Managing and regulating the freight network 62
Delivering Freight Futures 79
• Implementing Freight Futures in partnership with stakeholders 79
• Working with the Commonwealth Government 80
Appendix 1: The Victorian Freight Story – Metropolitan 83
Appendix 2: The Victorian Freight Story – Regional 89
Appendix 3: Freight Facts and Projections 93
Glossary of Terms 95
Freight Futures Victorian Freight Network Strategy 3
The need for a Victorian
Freight Network Strategy
Future growth in the Victorian economy will generate
signifi cant increases in the volume of freight moving around
the state, as well as the distances travelled on the freight
network. This strong growth has many implications for
Victoria and the national economy.
By 2036, Victoria will have a population approaching seven
million. This will generate signifi cant growth in personal
travel and freight movements, and increased demand for
goods and services. Combined with increasing competition
for the supply of goods from interstate and overseas,
this growth presents a core challenge for the Victorian
economy and for the state’s freight, distribution and
By 2025, the number of kilometres travelled by road freight
vehicles is expected to increase by 70 per cent, with 60 per
cent more vehicles on Victoria’s roads. By 2035, the Port of
Melbourne is expected to be handling up to eight million
standard (twenty foot equivalent) containers per year, four
times the current level of two million containers.
In Victoria, freight transport and logistics activities contribute
an estimated 14.7 per cent to Gross State Product and
334,000 jobs in freight and logistics activities across all
industry sectors. The freight and logistics industry is not only
a major part of the Victorian economy; it also supports other
industries critical to the national economy, including
manufacturing, services and agriculture.
Ensuring that these industries have access to, and are
able to operate on, a sustainable and effi cient freight
network is critical.
The effi cient movement of freight in a sustainable way
is vital to maintaining the liveability of Victoria’s cities
and towns, with the standard of living and quality of life
currently enjoyed by Victorians dependent upon being
able to access goods and services in a timely and cost
At the same time, the movement of large numbers
of vehicles carrying freight through towns and cities has
an impact on the environment and the amenity of some
Population growth and increased economic activity will also
increase road congestion. Congestion erodes liveability,
hinders the effi cient movement of freight and imposes
substantial economic costs.
Victoria needs an effi cient and reliable freight distribution
network – a network that will keep pace with Australia’s
future economic and population growth, while matching
community expectations that freight will be moved around
the state safely and sustainably.
The purpose of the Strategy
The Victorian Government is committed to ensuring that
a high quality, high capacity, well connected, fl