Seymour Whyte awarded Port of Melbourne rail project

The Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP) will provide a rail solution to meet the needs of a growing port. Image courtesy of Port of Melbourne.

Port of Melbourne is a step closer to implementing a critical rail solution to meet the needs of a growing port, having awarded the construction contract to move ahead with the Port Rail Transformation Project (PRTP).

Seymour Whyte has been engaged by Port of Melbourne to develop new rail infrastructure at the port, including a new rail terminal interfacing with the container terminal at Swanson Dock East.

Port of Melbourne is Australia’s largest container and general cargo port, handling more than one-third of the nation’s container trade. Each year, the port contributes approximately $6 billion to the Victorian economy.

The $125 million on-dock rail plan is part of the state government’s plan to improve the port’s efficiency by allowing more containers moved by rail, by-passing roads in inner Melbourne. In addition to increase existing terminal capacity, it includes a new rail terminal construction.

John Kirkwood, Seymour Whyte Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said the contract with Port of Melbourne recognised Seymour Whyte’s extensive experience in collaborative contracting.

“We are delighted to have entered into an early contractor involvement (ECI) contract with Port of Melbourne earlier this year and now the delivery contract of this important Port Rail Transformation Project,” Mr Kirkwood said.

Mr Kirkwood credited Seymour Whyte’s smart partnerships approach for the contract award, which he said included opportunities to reuse and recycle, diverting materials from waste streams.

“We have worked collaboratively with Port of Melbourne to develop the preferred transport infrastructure engineering solution, seeking to understand and address the challenges and priorities for the port’s future”.

Seymour Whyte participated in a competitive expression of interest and tender stage to be selected to work in partnership with Port of Melbourne and design-partner WSP to deliver the Port Rail Transformation Project.

Seymour Whyte will also implement environmental initiatives, including:

  • a water treatment system to treat contaminated ground water
  • all asphalt and concrete being recycled
  • assessment of the reuse of approximately 33000m3 of soil on-site to reduce the amount of new material used on-site
  • demolition works anticipated to achieve an 80 per cent plus recycle rate.

The Port Rail Transformation Project is the cornerstone of Port of Melbourne’s new rail infrastructure, supporting trade growth strategy to meet Victoria’s and southeast Australia’s freight needs.

The port’s new rail infrastructure will include:

  • A new Coode Road rail terminal interfacing with the Swanson Dock East International Container Terminal. The rail terminal will include two new rail sidings each that can handle 600 metre long trains.
  • A new road to facilitate the uninterrupted movement of containers. The new road will provide a continued east/west connection within the Swanson Dock Precinct without trucks needing to exit to Footscray Road replacing the section of Coode Road which will be closed to construct the above rail terminal.
  • Modifications to the Swanson precinct common user sidings to accommodate 600 metre long trains.
  • A new track linking the Swanson and Appleton lead tracks to allow additional flexibility for trains to move within the port precinct.
  • Upgrades to the Swanson lead track.

Early works on the project commenced in August 2021 and Seymour Whyte anticipates construction to run from October 2021 until 2023.


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