Engineering, Freight Rail, Research & Development

Draft ports and freight strategy highlights Inland Rail’s role

The NSW government has released a draft plan outlining the key challenges and priorities to improve the efficiency of freight transportation across the state into the future, and which emphasises the imperative of harnessing Inland Rail’s potential into the future.

Feedback from those involved in the freight industry is being sought on the NSW Draft Freight and Ports Plan, with formal submissions able to be lodged until late March 2018.

Melinda Pavey, state minister for roads, maritime and freight, said that, with an exponentially expanding international demand for Australian exports, NSW’s freight system had to respond with an effective strategy that satisfied customers.

“Our major commercial ports at Port Botany, Port Kembla and Newcastle are managing increasing volumes of imported and exported goods, requiring faster, more efficient road and rail access with our Sydney and regional NSW markets,” Pavey said.

“We need a strong plan to ensure that our farmers, miners and industries can respond to all opportunities, delivering successful outcomes for the NSW economy and local communities.”

Among the most important challenges identified by the draft plan is the long-term projected increase in NSW population growth, which is increasing the freight task and influencing the direction of freight flows.

The encroachment of residential and commercial developments on freighting precincts and corridors, is also highlighted, along with the constraints caused by the sharing of infrastructure (e.g. freight movements having to take place along lines used by passenger rail services).

To meet the growth in freight demand, the report states, freight will need to have increased access to the rail network between freight facilities, gateways and corridors. This will include planning Transport for NSW actions such as expanding and upgrading the network to enable higher productivity, and pursuing “opportunities to provide dedicated rail networks for passengers and freight, to reduce sharing of busy rail corridors”.

The draft plan also emphasises the need for NSW to focus on ensuring the Inland Rail project optimises the movement of freight in regional NSW through efficient links to Port Botany, the Port of Newcastle, and Port Kembla, thereby encouraging opportunities for the development of “economically sustainable” freight hubs by the private sector along the route, and, further, the development of intermodal terminals.

Transport for NSW is currently providing the ARTC with technical advice in the latter’s preparation of its Narromine to Parkes and Narrabri to North Star brownfield projects.

The final NSW Ports and Freight Plan will be closely integrated with other major transport and infrastructure plans that have been established by the NSW government, including the State Infrastructure Strategy, the Future Transport 2056 Strategy, and the Regional and Greater Sydney Services and Infrastructure plans.

The Australian Logistics Council has quickly embraced the release of the draft plan, with managing director Michael Kilgariff saying that the priorities outlined complemented those included in other significant NSW government transport plans and echoed the sentiments of the federal government’s Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

“[I]t is pleasing to see the draft plan also supports increasing road and rail capacity around Port Botany, including duplication of the freight rail line at the port. This is a vital national economic imperative, and its positive impacts would be felt beyond the borders of NSW,” Kilgariff said.

“ALC also welcomes the Draft Plan’s recognition of the increasingly important role intermodal terminals will play in meeting our freight task, the need to develop efficient rail linkages from the Inland Rail to existing ports in NSW and additional investment to separate freight and passenger rail to alleviate congestion on the Sydney rail network.”

The draft NSW Freight and Ports Plan will be open for feedback until March 25 2018.

1 Comment

  1. Hi All,
    I come away with the Views that N S W is going all out to Tie in Ports with the Local Regional Rail Networks into both Inland Rail and Regional Rail. If it means Double Tracking in Areas plus other changes to the Freight Networks, this should go a long way to making N S W more competative on the overall. The fact that N S W is on the Standard Gauge Networks is an added value as well Based on Next Load to Any Port or Location in the Country within Reasons. Kind of beats Victoria and Queensland who are on the Wrong Gauge so have serious problems competing against N S W for the Nation’s Freight.