Another milestone was reached today with the Minister for Ports Denis Napthine attending the inaugural meeting of the Port of Hastings Development Authority (PoHDA) Board in Hastings.
As part of the visit the Minister and the Board toured the existing facilities at the Port of Hastings and the future site of Victoria's next container port.
Dr Napthine said the meeting brought together the highly experienced team for the first time and would help set the agenda for the way forward, and had instilled a great level of confidence for the future of the project.
"After meeting with the Board today I'm very comfortable that we have the right mix of expertise and knowledge along with a high level of enthusiasm for this historical project to get the job done," Dr Napthine said.
"The PoHDA was specifically established to address concerns around the future of freight in Victoria and fast-track development. The Authority will commence project scoping investigations into the technical, environmental, social and economic issues which would need to be addressed as part of the port's development."
The Board, headed by Chairman Yehudi Blacher, brings a wealth of knowledge and is supported by members with a strong cross section of skills and experience across the ports and freight, business, legal and finance sectors.
The project will involve the development of new port facilities at the Port of Hastings and upgraded road and rail infrastructure to move millions of containers to and from the port.
Container movements are estimated to quadruple over the next 30 years and establishing a second port to relieve the forecast congestion at the Port of Melbourne is critical to ensuring Victoria's continued economic success.
Dr Napthine said beginning work now on the Port of Hastings development is extremely important and the main focus for the PoHDA Board.
"A thriving ports and freight sector is critical to Victoria's and the nation's economy, and I am confident that the new Board will provide the organisational leadership required to realise the development of the Port of Hastings as Victoria's second container terminal," Dr Napthine said.
Hastings is already an operating port and is well placed to be Victoria's second container port with its existing deep water access and extensive areas of land reserved for port-related purposes. The new port will also provide logistics benefits by getting freight into outer metropolitan areas and relieving congestion by removing some of the freight traffic from the streets of Melbourne.
The Port of Hastings currently serves major international and domestic shipping trade that includes import and export of oil, LPG, ULP and steel. The trade through the Port includes petroleum, LPG and steel, amounting to more than two million tonnes of cargo.