Tasmania’s busiest port is to undergo a $12 million transformation, giving the state’s economy a major boost.

Under the new plan, trains will be able to shunt within the operational area of the Burnie port, and the capacity of the container storage area will be significantly upgraded.

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure Rene Hidding said the project was a great example of government and industry working together to deliver improved transport infrastructure.

“The Burnie port is of key strategic importance to Tasmania’s freight system, and this project will increase its capacity and productivity,” Mr Hidding said.

“A more efficient, integrated freight system will help to grow our economy and create more jobs across industry.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss confirmed the Australian Government’s contribution to the project.

Representing Mr Truss, Federal Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley, said it was a win-win for the City of Burnie, with an end to shunting along the popular West Beach foreshore.

“This will both improve the efficiency of operations at Tasmania’s premier container port and the safety and amenity of West Beach,” Mr Whiteley said.

“While the local community has long understood the need for trains to back up outside the port and along the beach, a solution that avoids this and improves, rather than detracts, from port operations will be most welcomed.”

The Burnie Port Optimisation Project is managed by TasPorts, who are contributing $3 million toward the project.

The project will also receive $4 million from the Federal Government, $2 million from Tasmanian Government, $2 million from Toll and the $1 million from TasRail.

The Burnie upgrade is scheduled to be finished by October 2015.