TRUCKS will remain crucial in the movement of freight despite efforts to boost tonnage carried via rail, executive general manager Port of Melbourne operations Caryn Anderson says.

Ms Anderson spoke at the Victoria Hotel in Yarraville, Melbourne, as part of an event organised by the Container Transport Alliance Australia and suggested those opposed to trucks needed some perspective.

“Obviously there is some social and environmental drivers… The community in the area are very excited by rail and the opportunity to take trucks off the road,” Ms Anderson told the gathering.

“One thing we need to recognise, and as an industry we certainly recognise, is that even when you have a rail mode choice, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a role for trucks.

“Yes we can have outer metro intermodal terminals and they can be based at the railhead. But there is also a very real opportunity for road transport to rail in the outer metro areas and then obviously in and around the port.”

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Ms Anderson said rail would only ever be for “a component of the total freight supply chain”.

“So it plays a role, it’s not a replacement for trucks,” she said.

As part of legislation to privatise Port of Melbourne, the new leaseholders are required to produce a rail access strategy which needs to be submitted by October 2019.

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