Rail infrastructure under scrutiny

<p>Senior planning executives have stressed the need for adequate planning and regulation in the future, particularly in the rail sector as port’s faced monumental growth.</p> <p>Maunsell director of transport, Graham Hooper, said at the <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> Port and Infrastructure conference held in Melbourne this week that barring a major global catastrophe, the future held very strong growth in the movement of freight.</p> <p>Australia needed to sort out its rail mode share problem promptly as all interstate rail networks passed through the major cities, he said.</p> <p>"Having a clear plan on landside transport infrastructure planning, which can be made available to the public sector is vital," he said.</p> <p>"There is going to have to be an increase in metroshuttle traffic to have commercially viable rail trips on the short-haul, two way loading, and fast turnarounds," he said.</p> <p>Iron ore exports are expected to reach over 300m tonnes over the next five years.</p> <p>Containers were expected to grow by 8.9% in Australia and 10.4% in the Asia Pacific region, he said,</p> <p>By 2015, the four major loading centres in the Asia region would be handling over 20m teu.</p> <p>Mr Hooper said under current conservative growth estimates of 6% per annum, by 2025 the port of Melbourne would handle 5.8m teu a year, Sydney 4m teu and Fremantle 2.5 teu.</p> <p>According to Drewry Shipping, 499 ships of 4,000 teu or more are in operation, and 479 more ships of this capacity are on order over the next five to six years.</p> <p>Pricewaterhouse Coopers spokesman Martin Cooper said Port Botany’s expansion problems clearly demonstrated the need for proper planning and regulation.</p> <p>"The appetite of investors can be used to meet the requirements of the port sector," he said.</p> <p>Mr Cooper said defining how the rail and road structure was going to be invested was important.</p> <br />