Melbourne will have a second container port, but the rest of the plan hinges on an upcoming state election.

The Port of Hastings Development Authority has already started planning for Melbourne’s second port on one specific site, but the state’s Labor opposition says it would have other options explored if it wins the poll on November 29.

The port is among a range of infrastructure projects that appear to be defining the election lead-up, but current ports minister David Hodgett says whichever party wins will have to have their plans underway already.

He says early investigations will need to run for over 12 months to cover any seasonal variations.

“The expansion of the Port of Hastings is a project with multiple elements involving several stages of comprehensive planning,” Mr Hodgett told reporters.

"The Victorian Coalition Government has committed to developing the Port of Hastings as Victoria's second container port to complement the Port of Melbourne and to cater for the growth of container movements.

“Starting the marine studies now will ensure we gather the necessary information to be able to progress port design and planning and inform the proposed expansion of the Port of Hastings.

"These marine studies will build on previous studies of Western Port including the work which commenced in the early 1970s and subsequent studies since, and will continue to improve our understanding of the area."

Port authority CEO Mike Lean says the studies provide baseline data about important conditions, with the results used to inform later planning.

“Hydrodynamic studies will be used to inform port design and planning, providing us with a clear understanding of the wave and current conditions that ships will experience in the channel,” Lean said.

“Ecological studies will be undertaken into underwater habitats, fish and waterbird populations and water quality. These will greatly improve our understanding of Western Port's current marine environment.”