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Work Begins on $23.5m Ballarat Freight Hub

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Early works have begun on the Victorian government’s new intermodal freight hub at Ballarat in northern Victoria. 

The government has also indicated that it will soon release an expressions-of-interest campaign for an operator to run the facility. 

The $23.5-million freight hub will be next to Ballarat Airport in the Ballarat West Employment Zone in the city’s north-west fringe and it being lauded as a crucial step to improving logistics for the region.

It will also be close to the Western Freeway, the broad-gauge Ballarat-Ararat railway line infrastructure and the Ballarat Link Road.

The location means freight and logistics tenants will have access to road, rail and aviation infrastructure from one location. 

The state government has allocated $14.4 million for the project and the federal government is providing $9.1 million.

The early works on the freight hub will create five serviced lots on the site to prepare for major construction next year. 

Victorian ports and freight minister Melissa Horne said the hub would have a capacity of handling 24,000 TEUs a year via rail-to-port connections.

“This is another example of how we’re putting the infrastructure in place to make rail freight more efficient—the Intermodal Freight Hub at the Ballarat West Employment Zone will make it easier to transport product to port, as well as drive jobs and economic growth in the region for years to come,” she said.

▲ The entrance to the Ballarat West Employment Zone, site of the intermodal freight hub.

The 6ha terminal will have three rail sidings that will accommodate 600m-long freight trains as well as a hardstand for loading, unloading and storing shipping containers. 

With up to 300,000 tonnes of grain per year estimated to use completed terminal, there is opportunity for new and existing businesses to set up processing facilities. 

Finalising the configuration of the terminal means the state government can conclude its negotiations with prospective buyers for 18ha of land within the freight hub site. 

The Ballarat West Employment Zone is a $30-million, 438ha joint initiative between the Victorian government and the City of Ballarat.

It was begun with a $25.2 million allocation in the 2014-2015 state budget with the City of Ballarat providing $5 million. 

The project is the development of surplus Crown Land for industrial, wholesale, logistics, construction, commercial and residential uses, encouraging employment growth in Ballarat and the surrounding region.

Development Victoria is handling the zone’s development on behalf of Regional Development Victoria.

George Weston Foods has already committed to a $132.9-million flour mill at the Ballarat West Employment Zone, creating 320 jobs during construction and 220 jobs during operation as well as supporting more than 1300 farmers and suppliers that work with the company.

The Ballarat West Employment Zone will also be home to the Ballarat Foodbank Hub on part of a 4.7ha site now owned by Troon Group. It will provide food relief to the Central Goldfields, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Mount Alexander, Ballarat, Grampians and Pyrenees local government areas.

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Article originally posted at: https://www.theurbandeveloper.com/articles/ballarat-intermodal-freight-hub