Candidates shortlisted for port freight charge

Five IT companies have made a government shortlist to run the freight access charge at the Port of Melbourne

By Rob McKay | July 8, 2010

Five IT offerings have made the Victorian Government’s shortlist to deliver the Freight Infrastructure Charge collection service at the Port of Melbourne, Acting Roads and Ports Minister Peter Batchelor says.

The Victorian Transport Association branded the charge as little more than a naked cash grab and a tax on imports, following the April call for expressions of interest in the service.

The shortlisted applicants are: ConnectEast, ConnectEast/1-Stop Connections, Tenix Solutions, Transurban and VESystems.

The charge will apply to trucks accessing the East and West Swanson dock container terminals to pick up and deliver containers, and will contribute to investments in infrastructure announced in the Victorian Transport Plan.

Batchelor says the Government is working closely with stakeholders in development of the charge, with the project team meeting about 75 stakeholders in recent months.

"We will continue to work closely with industry to ensure we deliver a workable system that encourages behaviour changes and delivers the best use of infrastructure," he says.

Further stakeholder meetings will be held in July and August, while a Stakeholder Advisory Group will also be established in the coming months to provide input into the structure and operation of the charge.

Batchelor says following the recent expressions of interest process, the five companies are now required to tender to implement and deliver the collection service.

"The Freight Infrastructure Charge, announced in the Brumby Labor Government’s Freight Futures strategy, is aimed at driving more efficient and sustainable use of port infrastructure," Batchelor says.

"It will encourage greater efficiency and utilisation of freight vehicles in the port precinct, in response to the rapidly growing container freight task."

He says the charge will encourage trucks to access the port during off-peak times and promote the use of rail freight.

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