Future market expansion

Domestic and international developments

Inland Rail connects into the broader national network of roads, rail, air and sea so companies can get their products across Australia and to international markets in an efficient and cost competitive way.

To take advantage of overseas markets, port connectivity is essential and the Australian Government has invested in studies and further planning at the following ports:

Over the next 30 years, total domestic freight volumes will grow another 26 per cent from the amount carried on the transport network in 2020.

With over 20 million Australians currently living in Inland Rail states and the national population expected to reach nearly 40 million by 2060-61, this increase in Australians generating and consuming freight on the east coast will require our freight network to adapt to:

  • changing consumer preferences as online purchases rise to 40% of total retail sales by 2026
  • global economic shifts as over a billion people in Asia enter a growing middle class
  • technology innovations and emerging security challenges.

Effective and efficient transport

Inland Rail will provide an effective transport option travelling Melbourne to Brisbane in under 24 hours, delivering goods with 98 per cent reliability and ensuring they are available when they're needed, offering transport savings and efficiencies for Australian producers. The new freight route complements the supply chain and builds further connections into a broader national network of roads and rail.

Connecting the 2 fastest growing cities in the country, the Melbourne to Brisbane transport corridor is one of the busiest in the nation, with freight largely carried by road.

With longer, faster trains and its interoperability with the national freight network, there are good reasons for why Inland Rail provides an effective and efficient transport alternative.

To explore the market opportunities for supply chains, the CSIRO undertook a supply chain mapping project and projected Inland Rail could deliver savings on average of $80.77 per tonne, when switching from road to rail.

Read more about Inland Rail supply chain mapping project.

Connectivity and interoperability

Inland Rail connects to ports, terminals and the rest of the national freight network to meet demand and expand Australia's import and export markets.

Freight operators will be able to take advantage of:

  • standard gauge connections to all mainland state capitals and major ports
  • a consistent standard so the same rolling stock can go anywhere on the network
  • connections to all existing regional freight networks
  • a dual gauge connection throughout Queensland for a seamless connection to their regional narrow-gauge network.

In the Australian Government's response to the recommendations made within the Independent Review of Inland Rail, the Government agreed that ensuring the new signalling system being acquired for Inland Rail operation is interoperable with state systems, stating that the Government is already working with jurisdictions and industry to ensure greater interoperability, this includes the recent signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation to make rail more competitive and interoperable across Australia.

The Australian Government is also invested in a range of initiatives to ensure we've assessed the potential for further improving Inland Rail's connectivity. These include:

Inland Rail may also attract private sector investment and expansion with a wave of investment occurring on either side of the alignment.

With the support of governments, industrial precincts are planned in Gilgandra, Moree and Wagga Wagga. Private sector operators including Interlink SQ, SCT Logistics and Wellcamp Airport have also invested in expanding and improving local facilities.

Read more about the hubs forming around Inland Rail and private sector investments in your community.