Freight Rail, Research & Development

Inland Rail a huge win for agriculture: CSIRO

Australia’s national science and research unit has commended investment in the Inland Rail freight project between Melbourne and Brisbane, saying it stands to save the agriculture sector around $70 million per annum.

A pilot study of the CSIRO’s computer logistics tool TraNSIT (Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool) crunched the numbers on the section of Inland Rail which will run between Parkes and Narromine in central west New South Wales.

The program found once Inland Rail up and running, the agricultural industry could save between $64 and $94 per tonne on loads shifted from road to rail ion that region.

Based on close to a million tonnes of horticultural and processed agriculture moved from the region each year, that would equate to a saving of around $70 million each year, the CSIRO says.

Additionally, the science organisation’s analysis showed existing coastal trips which could instead use Inland Rail, would save between $28 and $35 a tonne by doing so.

“Our research has shown that Inland Rail would bring an improvement in rail travel time and transport cost, particularly important when considering perishable products,” CSIRO TraNSIT leader Dr Andrew Higgins says.

“This would make it a lot more competitive with the travel time advantages of road transport.”

Higgins noted transport makes up a large portion of cost in the agricultural sector.

“These types of savings with Inland Rail would mean food companies would have lower cost access to markets further away than they supplied to in the past,” he said. “The benefit is for those selling to market, basically large farming corporations, food companies and those behind processing facilities. You’d expect the savings would then be passed back onto farmers.”