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 provide broader economic benefits including improving the competitiveness of Australia's freight supply chain.
In the 2019-20 Budget, $20 million was committed to fund 2 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.
More information on these business cases is available on the department's website:
In April 2023, the Australian Government announced that the Inland Rail service offering of double-stacked trains will operate between the intermodal terminal at Beveridge in Victoria and proposed terminal at Ebenezer in Queensland.
In the 2022-23 Budget, the Australian Government committed up to $3.1 billion for the $3.6 billion Melbourne Intermodal Terminal Package that will deliver two new intermodal terminals in Melbourne at Beveridge and Truganina.
The $3.6 billion Package includes the delivery of 2 intermodal terminals and connecting infrastructure:
- $1.62 billion for the Beveridge Interstate Freight Terminal and $150 million for road connection upgrades, including Camerons Lane Interchange
- $740 million for the Western Interstate Freight Terminal in Truganina and $920 million for the Outer Metropolitan Ring (OMR) South Rail connection.
The two new terminals will increase the efficiency and capacity of the national and Victorian freight industry by overcoming the constraints of the Dynon precinct and Melbourne's broader freight network. It will also enable and maximise the benefits of Inland Rail by ensuring that Melbourne's freight infrastructure has the capability to accommodate the Inland Rail service offering of double-stacked 1,800 metre trains.
Victoria's long-term freight strategy highlights the need for both terminals. The package will create more liveable communities in two key growth areas by addressing the conflicting land use between industrial and urban areas, and reducing the freight network's overall environmental impact.
Funding for the overall package for the new intermodal terminals and connecting infrastructure, will be subject to further negotiations between the Australian and Victorian governments.
National Intermodal Corporation will support the planning, delivery and operation of the Government's significant investment in new state-of-the-art intermodal terminals across Australia's east coast, including Melbourne.
As part of the Australian Government's response to the recommendations of the independent review of Inland Rail, Ebenezer has been identified as the preferred location for an open-access intermodal terminal in Queensland to meet the Inland Rail service offering of double-stacked trains – subject to the outcome of the south-east Queensland Inland Rail intermodal terminal business case.
Intermodal terminals in regional centres
In the 2023-24 Budget, the Australian Government agreed for National Intermodal Corporation to use up to $3 million of existing equity to undertake a feasibility study with the New South Wales Government for the development of intermodal facilities at Parkes.
This Budget commitment is in line with recommendations from the independent review of Inland Rail to prioritise delivery of Inland Rail between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in New South Wales.
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 already located or planned for development along the Inland Rail route:
- Melbourne Intermodal Terminals (planned)
- SCT's intermodal terminal and logistics centre at Barnawartha (Wodonga)
- SCT's Altona Terminal
- Qube Logistics terminals at North Dynon, 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 hub at Ettamogah, Albury
- Qube Logistics intermodal terminal at Harefield, south of Junee
- Pacific National's logistics terminal based in the Parkes Shire Council National Logistics Hub and NSW Government supported Parkes Activation Precinct
- SCT Logistics' rail freight terminal based in the Parkes Shire Council's National Logistics Hub and NSW Government supported Parkes Activation Precinct
- Wagga Wagga Special Activation Precinct
- Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub (under development)
- Moree Special Activation Precinct
- Louis Dreyfus intermodal at Moree
- Narrabri Inland Port (planned).
- Brisbane Intermodal Terminal (planned)
- SCT Logistics rail freight terminal in Bromelton
- Pacific National's intermodal terminal at Acacia Ridge in Brisbane
- InterLink SQ's terminal near Toowoomba
- Wagner's regional trade distribution centre at Wellcamp (planned)
- Pacific National at Wellcamp (planned).
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.