Intermodal terminals play a significant role in the consolidation, storage and transfer of freight between rail and road at the beginning and end of each rail journey. Intermodal terminals provide connectivity to ports, regional networks and other capital cities and locations. Efficient intermodal terminals can also increase flexibility for freight operators and decrease the overall cost in a supply chain.
Intermodal terminals and port-rail connections will be important to fully realise the benefits of Inland Rail and maximise productivity in Australia’s freight network. They also make a vital contribution to the concentration of business and freight hubs along the Inland Rail route.
Intermodal terminal to support Inland Rail in Melbourne and Brisbane
Efficient intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane are critical to realising the benefits of Inland Rail and will also provide broader economic benefits including improving the competitiveness of Australia’s freight supply chain.
In the 2021-22 Budget, the Australian Government committed up to $2 billion to deliver a new intermodal terminal in Melbourne. The new terminal will support approximately 1,350 jobs during the peak of construction and a further 500 jobs during peak operation. The Melbourne Intermodal Terminal will drive further value from Inland Rail by catering for double-stacked 1,800 metre freight trains.
The location of the Melbourne intermodal terminal and the potential for additional terminal capacity in south-east Queensland will be determined through further negotiations with state governments, following completion of the joint business cases with the Victorian and Queensland governments.
In the 2019-20 Budget, $20 million was committed to fund two business cases (capped at $10 million each) with the Victorian and Queensland Governments to consider the development of intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane capable of accommodating the Inland Rail service offering of double-stacked, 1,800m trains.
The scope of the business cases include:
- defining the business need
- alignment with government objectives for Inland Rail
- integration with the broader transport network
- options for delivery of the terminals
- assessments of the economic, environmental, financial, technical, social impacts as well as risk management requirements for the proposed terminals.
More information on these business cases is available on the Department's website:
At either end of the Inland Rail route, consideration has been given to other terminals.
In Melbourne, the business case is exploring terminals also identified in the Victorian Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods 2018 including:
- Truganina, west Melbourne (referred to as the Western Interstate Freight Terminal)
- Beveridge, north of Melbourne (referred to as the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal).
In south-east Queensland, the Business Case is considering additional terminal capacity to complement the existing terminal at Acacia Ridge, at:
Intermodal terminals in regional centres
Intermodal terminals in regional centres along the rail corridor can also support regional supply chains and assist producers to gain better access to markets. The development of regional intermodal terminals and other complementary infrastructure is expected to be largely driven by market opportunities identified by private investors.
There are existing private sector intermodal terminals supporting regional supply chains across Australia. The following hubs are just some of those located along the Inland Rail route:
- SCT’s intermodal terminal and logistics centre at Barnawartha (Wodonga).
- Qube Logistics terminals at Altona and Victoria Dock.
- Austrack’s Somerton terminal.
- Pacific National’s South Dynon terminal.
- VicTrack’s Dynon terminal.
- Patrick’s East Swanson Dock.
- DP Word’s West Swanson Dock.
New South Wales
- Colin Rees Group’s rail hubat Ettamogah, Albury.
- Qube Logistics’ intermodal terminal at Harefield, south of Junee.
- Pacific National’s logistics terminal based in the Parkes Shire Council’s National Logistics Hub and NSW Government supported Parkes Activation Precinct.
- SCT Logistics’ rail freight terminal in Bromelton.
- The intermodal terminal in Acacia Ridge in Brisbane.
- InterLink SQ’s terminal near Toowooomba.
These stopping points along the Inland Rail route and in neighbouring communities will likely expand over time as the Government works to develop local ideas for connection through the Interface Improvement Program and the long-term regional investment opportunities associated with the project are realised.
In mid-2018, the Department sought submissions from key transport stakeholders with an interest in the freight and terminal markets in Brisbane and Melbourne including:
- transport and logistics operators
- transport and logistics asset owners or potential investors
- major freight consignors
- industry representative bodies
- relevant government or public sector agencies.
Their input provided insights to the potential for terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane including:
- Where the optimal sites might be for intermodal terminals based on factors such as:
- the ability to efficiently meet freight demand and service double-stacked trains
- proximity to customers and supporting warehousing facilities
- access to connecting infrastructure.
- When new or upgraded intermodal terminal developments might be required.
- What owner and operator models will allow terminals to most effectively and efficiently meet freight demand.
- The appetite for investment in terminals that exists or is perceived within the market.
- What impediments exist to limit the appetite for terminals.
- What role, if any, is required of any level of government to facilitate terminal solutions for those cities for example through regulatory or planning arrangements, supporting connecting infrastructure or other approaches.
Industry input during these consultations is being included in the Government’s current considerations about the location, timing and other factors related to intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane.