Investment in rail upgrades supports increased grain transport in Geelong

April 19, 2024 BY

Between July and December 2023, the volume of grain transported by rail in Victoria increased by 95% compared to the previous year. Photo: GRAINCORP

THE Victorian Government has invested over $181 million in the regional rail-freight network, enhancing the capacity for grain transport through Geelong’s GrainCorp export terminal.

This funding has facilitated the handling of heavier trains at key sites, including Geelong Port, integral to the state’s $4.4 billion grain industry.

GrainCorp chief operating officer Klaus Pamminger said the focus was on improving logistics and transportation.

“GrainCorp is working closely with the Victorian Government and industry stakeholders to improve rail infrastructure in Victoria, to facilitate quicker and more efficient movement of grain from our sites to end users in domestic and export markets,” Pamminger said.

Between July and December 2023, the volume of grain transported by rail in Victoria increased by 95 per cent compared to the previous year, with a 57 per cent increase noted from July 2023 to March 2024.

This rise corresponds to an additional 500,000 tonnes of grain moved by rail, effectively reducing road congestion by decreasing the number of B-Double trucks required.

In response, GrainCorp has upgraded its infrastructure to handle larger and more modern wagons, extending railway sidings at some terminals to accommodate longer, heavier trains. This initiative is part of a broader suite of measures to optimise grain movement from farms to markets.

Southern Shorthaul Railroad recently purchased 22 new broad-gauge grain wagons, the first such order in 16 years.

Additionally, in October 2022, V/Line, bulk grain handling companies, and rail freight operator Pacific National formed the Grain Rail Improvement Plan Working Group.

Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne visited the terminal last week to assess the impact of these upgrades.

“Our targeted investments in our regional freight network have given our grain industry the confidence to put more of their grain on trains more often – helping to take more trucks off our roads,” Horne said.