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MAJOR works are underway at the SCT Logistics Interstate Freight Facility in Melbourne’s west.

The new facility, located in Altona, is a part of Victoria’s Port Rail Shuttle Network, which provides a direct rail link to the Port of Melbourne.

State minister for ports and freight Melissa Horne said Melbourne’s west is home to thousands of jobs in transport, manufacturing, and logistics.

“Projects such as the Port Rail Shuttle Network will further enhance the precinct’s strategic importance in addressing the growing freight task,” she said.

“An expanded rail freight terminal in Altona will provide an alternative to truck transport for the logistics community and reduce truck traffic at the port, along the Princes Freeway and other key arterial and suburban roads.”

The project is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments with a $9.2-million investment and will be operational by the end of 2022.

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SCT Logistics is also to invest in the facility with new cross-dock facilities, an expanded container hard-stand area and rail-siding extensions.

SCT Logistics managing director Geoff Smith said: “SCT Logistics is proud to be working in partnership with government on this important project – we’re investing more than $16 million at Altona to improve and enhance our inland port capability with a direct rail connection to the Port of Melbourne to receive and dispatch port shuttle trains.”

The Altona facility is one of three projects that comprise the Port Rail Shuttle Network. Works to link the Salta Properties terminal in Dandenong South to the Port of Melbourne are underway, while works at the Austrak terminal at Somerton will commence later this year.

The aim of the project is to reduce the need for trucks to visit the Port of Melbourne. The Port Rail Shuttle Network is to allow trucks to deliver or pick u goods from the terminals, instead of the port. The state government said this would cut freight transport costs by up to 10% and slash truck movements on suburban roads by up to 175,000 trips each year. By 2050, the Port Rail Shuttle Network is expected to move 30% of Melbourne’s containers by rail, avoiding millions of truck trips on roads each year, the government said.

Member for Altona Jill Hennessy said: “This rail shuttle project will make a great difference to the way freight moves around our suburbs – reducing truck numbers, improving safety and removing congestion for Altona residents.”

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