Freight Rail, Major Projects & Infrastructure

Inland Rail set to bring big transport cost savings

Businesses as far afield as Townsville, Perth and Launceston are tipped to enjoy the benefits of Inland Rail, a new report states.

SHIFTING to Inland Rail could save Australian producers, manufacturers and growers about $170 million in transport costs each year according to early results of a CSIRO supply chain analysis.

Deputy PM and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack welcomed the early release of findings from the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study as further proof of the Inland Rail benefits.

“In regional Australia distances between communities and towns, and towns and cities are measured in more than miles and minutes – they’re measured in the cost of moving essential goods where and when people need them,” the DPM said.

“CSIRO has mapped supply chains for 140 commodities and the early results show an average transport cost reduction of 39 per cent can be achieved by shifting freight from road to Inland Rail for at least part of the journey.”

Freight travelling the full length of Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane achieves a higher transport cost reduction of 44 per cent.

Finance minister Simon Birmingham welcomed the initial findings of the CSIRO report.

“The report recognises businesses as far as Townsville, Perth and Launceston would have the potential to reap the benefits with suitable road-based supply chains to expect a 44 per cent reduction in their transport costs when switching to Inland Rail,” Birmingham said.

“Equally, existing rail-based supply chains are estimated to see an annual cost reduction of around $21 million when shifting at least part of their route to Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane.

Local government minister and federal MP Parkes Mark Coulton said the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia would bring extensive opportunities to regional Australia.

“This study is the green light signalling to the industry to start planning now because the potential cost savings for being connected to, or close by, Inland Rail are immense for farmers and regional businesses,” Minister Coulton said.

“Heavier, faster freight trains will divert non-bulk products from roads and provide the competitive edge regional Australia has been calling for.”

The Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), developed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, was used to analyse existing freight supply chains and the potential cost reductions based on future infrastructure investments or operational changes.

“Our computer logistics tool can identify the transport benefits to every supply chain using Inland Rail and analyse potential savings over the long term. It can also be used to test future scenarios and transport technologies,” CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said.

Find out more about the CSIRO Supply Chain mapping study at