Located in the south-eastern corner of the country, Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and home to four million people. It’s also an important logistics hub, with Australia’s busiest port, the Port of Melbourne, located at the mouth of the Yarra River, close to the city’s heart.

With demand for imported vehicles steadily rising in Australia, and with local car production closing down, the port administrator at the Port of Melbourne Corporation saw the need to significantly expand and modernise its RORO terminal facilities.

An extensive tender process resulted in the contract to develop and operate the expanded facilities being awarded to the Wallenius Wilhemsen Terminals Holding company Melbourne International RoRo Automotive Terminal (MIRRAT) in 2014.

MIRRAT’s Managing Director Paul Hand says work on the project at Melbourne’s Webb Dock West commenced almost immediately and the construction phase is now well advanced.

“It’s all on track and we’re actually two to three weeks ahead of schedule at this stage,” he says . “A number of the post-tension concrete slabs are down and foundations are starting to be laid for the administration building.”

Hand explains the project is being completed in two stages. A completely new RORO facility is being built on the northern part of the site, with construction due for completion in January 2016 and the start of operations scheduled for the following April. MIRRAT will then assume control of the existing RORO facility on the southern part of the site in early 2018, taking the total size of the facility to 355,000 square metres.

The project will allow for the number of vehicles handled by the port to rise from its 2013 level of 370,000 vehicles to some 600,000 cars in 2025 and eventually one million vehicles in 2040. In a parallel project, a 920-metre long berth is being constructed and will be capable of accommodating three vessels simultaneously.

Hand explains that MIRRAT’s green credentials were a key factor in winning the bid. “The construction contractors have used over 200,000 tonnes of recycled brick, concrete and glass,” he says. “And recycled plastics have been used for the drainage system instead of concrete.”

The project design is based on WWL’s Castor Green concept for terminals and the finished facility will achieve a minimum 5+ rating from the Green Building Council of Australia and an ‘Excellent’ rating from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia. It will feature numerous environment-focused features, including rainwater harvesting capabilities and a 100kW solar array.

Hand says once operational, the terminal will also employ state-of-the-art management technology.

“Because of the positioning of the port right next to the main city, we need to control and manage the flow of trucks as much as possible,” he says. “So, we’ll be using an active appointment system. We’ll also be using technology to better handle operational resource management, as there are so many elements that are moving on a daily basis.”

Hand says customers using the completed facility will also enjoy significant benefits.

“The idea is to provide them with seamless services,” he says. “We’re aiming to help minimise their lead time from the factory to the dealer network.”

Ahead of completion, Hand is busy with numerous duties including dealing with various branches of government, solving planning challenges, and meeting with stakeholders, including people living around the facility.

His 19-year career within a range of WWL roles has prepared him for the task, as has his prior experience. Before joining the company he spent several years in the British Army’s Royal Corps of Transport, acquiring skills he says he’s now using on the creation of MIRRAT. “Being in the army does tend to give you a certain amount of discipline,” he says. “I have gained insights into various ways to operate within logistics and I’ve combined this with everything that I’ve learned at Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics.”




* MIRRAT is a wholly owned subsidiary within the WWL group

* It is part of a global network currently consisting of 12 terminals

* When completed, MIRRAT will be Australia's largest Automotive and RoRo Terminal.

* MIRRAT is investing AUD 65 million in the project

* The facility will be 355,000 square metres or the equivalent of 50 soccer pitches.

* At capacity, the facility will be able to cater for a throughput of 1 million vehicles per annum.

* A 120-tonne gantry crane will be used.

* Features a high-capacity DAF accredited washday and 8000 square metres of free span warehouse.


Environmental features

* Some two million litres of rainwater will be harvested each year for use in the wash bay and in irrigation.

* LED lighting will result in a reduction of electricity usage by over 30 percent per annum.

* A 100kW solar array will save 156 tonnes of carbon annually.

* Sustainable construction methodology will reduce carbon emissions by 2,500 tonnes.

* Some 200,000 tonnes of recycled material is being used in construction.