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PROMOTING rail links with the Port of Melbourne was a focus of a meeting in the western-Victorian township of Horsham this week, organised by logistics company SCT and owners of Wimmera Container Line.

Held at Horsham Town Hall, the event attracted exporters and importers, government agencies, stevedores DP World and VICT, Port of Melbourne, and representatives of the Australian Rail Track Corporation, as well as shipping lines, and others.

A focus of the evening two-and-a-half hour event was to promote rail to the port and draw interstate freight from a 200km radius into destinations as far as Perth and Brisbane.

Speakers included

  • Vlad Jotic, head of business Development – Port of Melbourne;
  • Glen Richmond, manager marketing and business development – ARTC;
  • Matt Eryurek, General Manager Ports Development – SCT.

Vlad Jotic spoke about the forecasted growth of the port precinct, their development strategy and the role rail needs to play.

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“We are currently at 10% and for the largest container terminal in Australia, we have a lot of work to do in a short time,” Mr Jotic said.

Glen Richmond described the varying benefits of rail, both current and into the future, also touching on Inland Rail.

“ARTC own 8,500km of rail infrastructure around Australia and the final mile to Port of Melbourne from regional and metro areas is a big focus point to our organisation,” Mr Richmond said.

Dignitaries assembled at the Horsham event. Credit: SCT

“We are delighted that SCT is promoting the benefit of rail to the Port and we are keen to help with projects like mineral sands from this region.”

SCT general manager ports development Matt Eryurek spoke about the WCL (SCT Group) history and relationship in the region.

“Historically, the former owners and WCL have focused on exports,” Mr Eryurek said.

“As a company, we never introduced minimums or ‘take-or-pay’ arrangements.”

Lively discussion ensued after the event. Credit: SCT

SCT is exploring options to link the Wimmera region to the port as both imports and exports and into SCT’s national rail network.

Mr Eryurek highlighted major achievements of the SCT Group, as well as current and ongoing challenges.

“If our customers are hurting, we are hurting with you. We seek your support and best endeavours to take a medium to long term view on rail,” he said.

SCT has said it will be seeking regional support to draw interstate volumes into Horsham and transport them via rail as far as Brisbane and Perth.

“Our 29 mainline locomotives stop up to 100 times a year in Horsham and if a client needs a container moved interstate and as far as Perth or Brisbane, we can bolt this on to our existing services,” Mr Eryurek said.

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