About Victoria's commercial ports

Victoria's commercial trading ports are engines for economic growth. They provide critical transfer points in Victoria’s transport network and connect Victoria to international markets.

Also on this page:

Port of Melbourne pricing order compliance 

The Port of Melbourne is an economic asset for the whole state, contributing $6 billion each year to Victoria’s economy.

The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has important regulatory responsibilities, including regular reviews of the Port of Melbourne’s pricing order. The Government legislated to provide this important protection for port users and end consumers.

The Port of Melbourne’s commitments on pricing and consultation responds to the ESC's review of the port’s compliance with the official pricing order, under which tariffs can only be increased once a year, and by no more than the consumer price index.

The Port of Melbourne’s package of commitments are expected to put downward pressure on tariffs and provide a clearer process for the port to engage with businesses. 

The Victorian Government has accepted the Port of Melbourne’s commitments on pricing and consultation. This will help ensure that the port continues to operate for the benefit of all Victorians. 

The Government will continue working with the Port of Melbourne and stakeholders to get the best outcomes for Victorians.

Resources to download:

Victorian Ports Review

The Independent Review of the Victorian Ports System (review) was the first holistic review into the ports system in 20 years and included industry and stakeholder consultation, including commercial port and local port operators. 

The review made 63 recommendations, which were supported by the Victorian Government, together with long-term reforms that reinforce open market access to ensure the sustainable economic future of Victoria’s ports.

The full government response addressed these recommendations, while setting out the three main areas of action:

  • Establishing Ports Victoria, including creating Ports Victoria’s legislative charter, and outlining key reforms including to pilotage and towage services.
  • Developing the Victorian Commercial Ports Strategy which will further define the government’s stewardship role and articulating the key steps in ensuring the future of Victoria’s ports.
  • Local ports and waterway management reforms that will seek to effectively support the economic and social value of these assets.

The Victorian Government delivered on the review recommendations by creating Ports Victoria - a new state port entity to lead the strategic management and operation of Victorian commercial ports and waterways. 

Ports Victoria is headquartered in Geelong, recognising the city’s important role in Victoria’s ports system through GeelongPort and the future relocation of the Spirit of Tasmania. 

Ports Victoria commenced operations on 1 July 2021 and is led by the board Chair Howard Ronaldson, with Brendan Webb as the Chief Executive Officer.

The Victorian Government has released Navigating our Port Futures: The Victorian Commercial Ports Strategy as a response to the review, actioning the industry desire for a State-wide vision for the sector.
 
Navigating our Port Futures is supported by four objectives and associated priority actions that will guide the State’s action over the next five years. 
The Department of Transport is implementing the Sustainable Local Ports Framework as a critical first step to improve local ports management. Local ports support almost 10,000 jobs, contribute around $1 billion economic benefit every year and havbe a total replacement value of $650 million.
 
Resources to download:

Strategic Review of the Victorian Empty Container Supply Chain 

The Victorian Government is committed to working with stakeholders including shipping line operators, importers, stevedores, land transport operators and empty container parks to ensure Victoria’s containerised freight supply chain continues to operate efficiently and effectively. 

Freight Victoria engaged consultants NineSquared to undertake a review of the empty container supply chain in Victoria. 

The purpose of the review was to provide advice on how the empty container supply chain could be considered in work to develop the Voluntary Port Performance Model (VPPM).

Industry engagement was integral to developing the report prepared by NineSquared, with 28 industry stakeholders including empty container parks, stevedores, transport operators, shipping lines and industry bodies informing the final report. 

Feedback from industry has identified a confluence of factors causing issues being experienced in the empty container supply chain. 

The Department will determine how to implement the report’s recommendations, with further industry consultation expected to start in the coming weeks on how to expand the VPPM to cover the empty container supply chain.

This will build off the recently published second quarterly report for the Voluntary Performance Monitoring Framework, which was published in September 2021 and included the first indicator on the empty container supply chain, the load discharge ratio.

This measures whether trade is generating or removing surplus empty containers and will help monitor the level of empty containers in Melbourne. 

Download:

Port of Melbourne Container Logistics Chain Study

Port of Melbourne, alongside the Victorian Government, commissioned the 2020 Container Logistics Chain Study, the first comprehensive study of Port of Melbourne container movements in over a decade to inform industry and the government on the container supply chain and the transport networks that underpin it.

Container management is important because 75 per cent of the Port of Melbourne’s trade is containerised, representing about 3 million containers annually. 

The study provides a current picture on container movements along the supply chain across Victoria and interstate, examining the port’s container flow, trends and changes since the last study in 2009, and the impact and nature of growth in container volumes. 

The strength of the transport, manufacturing and logistics sector in Melbourne’s outer western and outer south eastern suburbs is clear, with the study showing the area receives more than two thirds of the state’s container imports.

The report also outlines the importance of the planning system in both protecting and enabling industrial land use and supply chain efficiency, while managing this impact on residential amenity.

The information will support policy and investment decisions as Victoria prepares for an expected increase in the freight task to 900 million tonnes by 2051.

The Port Rail Shuttle Network and the proposed Western Interstate Freight Terminal at Truganina will be critical to improve the efficiency of our ports and freight network and ensure the efficient operation of the wider transport network and reducing truck movements on local streets. 

Projects like the West Gate Tunnel, the Port Rail Transformation Project and the redevelopment of the former Melbourne Market site on Footscray Road for freight purposes will all have a big impact on the container supply chain and the way containers move around Victoria, particularly around Melbourne. 

Download:

Port Rail Transformation Project at the Port of Melbourne

We're moving more containers onto trains and reducing the number of trucks on local roads with the Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP) to be built at the Port of Melbourne (PoM).

Design and early contract works for the infrastructure component of the PRTP have been awarded.  

Site investigations commenced in early 2021 and construction commenced in December 2021. The project is on schedule to be completed by mid-2023.

The $125 million investment in new rail infrastructure interfacing with the container terminal at East Swanson Dock is part of the Victorian Government’s work to continue driving the economic success of the port, which currently contributes $6 billion to the Victorian economy each year and is a crucial part of the state’s agriculture supply chain.

We made better rail access to the port a requirement in the legislation for the PoM lease and now it’s being delivered.

It’s a win for our exporters who have been paying high “last mile” costs when their goods arrive at the PoM Melbourne and reduces congestion at the port gate.

To make the project possible, the PoM has introduced an increase of $9.75 per 20-foot equivalent unit charge on full imported containers from June 2020. The funds raised from the charge will directly deliver new sidings and connections for the rail project. The charge keeps the port competitive with Port Botany and won’t apply to export containers.

The PRTP is a key component of our plans for a rail freight network to the port, including the Port Rail Shuttle Network initiative, the intermodal terminals at Truganina and Beveridge, signal automation at the Geelong Port and investments in the regional freight network.

We’ll closely monitor the progress of the project and keep looking at ways to improve port pricing and access, keeping Victoria’s regional exports cost-competitive and growing the state’s economy.

Learn more about Port Rail Transformation Project at the Port of Melbourne.

Port of Melbourne

The Port of Melbourne is Australia's largest maritime hub for containerised, automotive and general cargo.

It is a key economic asset for businesses and people across Victoria and south-eastern Australia.

The Port of Geelong

The Port of Geelong is Victoria's second biggest port, handling more than 10 million tonnes of product annually and dealing with around 600 vessel visits each year.

Its main commodities include crude oil, wood-chip, fertiliser and break-bulk cargo.

Port of Hastings

The Port of Hastings serves major international and domestic shipping movements that import and export oil, LPG, ULP and steel.

It also handles general cargo, project cargo, ship-to-ship transfer, pipe-laying operations and the lay-up and repair of oil rigs and floating platforms.

Port of Portland

The Port of Portland is a deepwater bulk port and the international gateway for the green triangle region, an area with abundant natural resources.

The port specialises in bulk commodities, particularly agricultural, forestry and mining products as well as aluminium and fertiliser.

Vessel management services

Ports Victoria manages commercial navigation of the channels in port waters of Melbourne, Port of Geelong and the Port of Hastings and oversees channel management for the Port of Portland. 

It also manages waterside emergency and marine pollution response, and is responsible for the management of Station Pier as Victoria’s premier cruise shipping facility.

Container Storage Working Group Industry Guide  

In early 2022, the Victorian Government asked the Department to convene the Container Storage Working Group. 

The Container Storage Working Group included representatives from across the container freight supply chain, including container transport operators, stevedores, shipping lines, the Port of Melbourne, peak bodies, and Government. 

It was formed to provide an understanding of the current pressures on storage of shipping containers and to identify emerging themes and possible solutions.  

It achieved a shared understanding of the challenges all parties in the supply chain faced.  

The Container Storage Working Group’s input has contributed to the development of an Industry Guide, a collection of insights and feedback from the industry, key roles, responsibilities, and relationships in the flow of containers, and potential voluntary solutions to address disruption in the container supply chain.  

Find out more by viewing the Container Storage Working Group Industry Guide [PDF 2 Mb].