Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping state results summary

Potential benefits for Australia’s eastern states

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport Regional Development and Communications partnered with the Commonwealth, Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to assist in developing and improving research into the potential of Inland Rail through a Supply Chain Mapping Project.

Part of this research has looked at the potential transport cost reductions that may occur for intermodal freight movements using Inland Rail between Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

As part of the Supply Chain Mapping Project, CSIRO have made available to the public the Supply Chain Benchmarking Dashboard that provides the ability to analyse outputs from the Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT) and compare freight trends across commodities, across each leg of the supply chain.

The results of this project show that across the eastern states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, Inland Rail has the potential to deliver $149.4 million in total transport cost reductions each year, for intermodal freight using Inland Rail.

This represents 84% of the annual national benefit of $179 million per year for existing road-based supply chains switching to Inland Rail, with this benefit figure expected to grow as Australia’s freight task increases into the future.


The Supply Chain Mapping Project found that switching the movement of goods destined for Victoria from road to Inland Rail has the potential for an average of 37% reduction in unit transport costs and a total saving of $28.7 million each year for commodities such as:

  • general freight
  • horticulture
  • vehicles
  • processed food
  • wood products
  • cropping.
A decorative image made up of one large circle with small circles radiating outwards, representing the cost savings of Inland Rail for the above listed commodities

New South Wales

Freight destined for New South Wales could see an average unit transport cost reduction of 31% and a total of $7.0 million when switching from road to Inland Rail. These savings are significantly lower for New South Wales compared to Victoria and Queensland as freight mainly continues its journey through to either Brisbane or Melbourne using the existing transport corridors. 

Existing rail users could see a reduction of 0.78% in unit transport costs with potential savings of more than $2.1 million each year.

Decorative image to display cost savings listed above. Large circle with 3 smaller circles radiating outwards from the left hand side.


Queensland has been found to have the highest amount of potential savings in transport costs across the 3 eastern states, as freight shifting from road to Inland Rail that is destined for Queensland could see an average reduction of 40% in unit transport costs and potential savings of over $113.5 million for commodities such as:

  • general freight
  • processed food
  • horticulture
  • wood products
  • vehicles.

This greater potential for transport cost savings compared to Victoria and New South Wales is a result of Queensland’s position of relative distribution of economic production and consumption.

Existing rail users could see a reduction of around 10% in unit transport costs with potential savings of over $30 million each year.

A Queensland state illustration depicts the potential transport cost reduction of 40 percent on average for interstate movement. The average annual reduction on total transport costs for the states commodities are listed as General at $72.2m, Processed food at 18.8, Horticulture at 10.6m, Wood at 60m and Vehicles 5.6m.