Fremantle port shuttle to move more freight via rail

A new port shuttle rail service between Fremantle Port and the Perth Freight Terminal in Kewdale could take over 20,000 return truck trips off roads in Fremantle and Perth each year.

Pacific National began the port shuttle rail service last month and is looking to ramp up volumes on the route in September. Up to five port shuttle services are on offer each week, with each train having the capacity to haul 100 shipping containers from the North Quay Rail Terminal at Fremantle Port to Kewdale.

Pacific National CEO Dean Dalla Valle said that there is the potential to move up to 26,000 shipping containers from trucks and onto rail each year with the service.

“Daily train shuttle services between Fremantle Port and Perth Freight Terminal are by far the safest, most efficient and environmentally-friendly way to haul large volumes of freight,” said Dalla Valle.

Getting more freight from Fremantle Port to Kewdale will be essential to avoid Perth’s roads being clogged with large trucks. Container volumes at Fremantle Port are expected to increase to over 1.2 million TEUs by 2031, near double 2016 figures, according to the Perth Freight Transport Network Plan.

Significant increases are also expected in iron and steel imports, agricultural and other machinery, and motor vehicles.

Demand for rail freight is expected to increase by 50 per cent over the next two decades.

The Western Australian government hopes to move more freight via rail through upgrades to infrastructure, such as track duplication, and improved efficiencies on the existing network.

The need for effective and efficient freight networks with rail as the backbone has only come to more prominence since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the first time in a long time, people have started to understand and appreciate the finely tuned nature and criticality of our nation’s freight supply chains. They are the arteries supplying our economic lifeblood,” said Dalla Valle.

“Shifting haulage of large volumes of containerised freight from road to rail benefits the broader WA community. It results in fewer road accidents and fatalities, reduced traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, and less wear and tear on local and state roads.”