Building an efficient freight network for the future
Rail has always been an essential part of the freight supply chain and Inland Rail will be a pivotal part of Australia’s freight network.
Australia’s capacity to remain competitive in the modern, global economy relies on its ability to move produce from paddock to port and deliver domestic freight that is available when the market wants it.
Inland Rail complements existing freight transport infrastructure
Inland Rail provides a consistent track standard which enables freight operators to use the same rolling-stock anywhere on the national rail freight network. It will maintain all existing regional freight network connections. Throughout Queensland, Inland Rail will provide a dual gauge connection to allow seamless connectivity with the regional narrow gauge network.
The selected route will use 60 percent existing corridor and will connect to existing regional and rail lines. The connectivity of Inland Rail to existing rail networks is a fundamental driver of how Inland Rail will deliver regional economic benefits.
Inland Rail will make it easier to move freight from farms, mines, cities and ports to domestic and international markets. Availability of freight is a key consideration of freight forwarders and a key driver of the decision-making process as to whether to transport freight by road or rail.
The line will travel via Parkes – already a regional hub – and will build on existing regional and urban rail connections to provide access to the ports of Melbourne, Port Kembla, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
The development of new intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane, with sufficient capacity to accommodate double-stacked high performance trains, is important for the Inland Rail service offering. The government is currently examining opportunities for private sector investment in intermodal terminals in both Melbourne and Brisbane, including innovative delivery and financing options.
Intermodal terminals in regional centres along the rail corridor are also important to leverage the benefits of the project, build regional supply chains and provide better access to markets. The development of regional intermodal terminals and complementary infrastructure is expected to be largely driven by market opportunities and private investment.
Road, rail, air and sea
The rail system is the essential link to Australia’s freight supply chain. Transporting freight via rail connects our farms, mines and cities to domestic and international markets. An efficient and accessible rail transport network benefits both communities and industry.
Australia’s vast distances between our farms, cities and ports means that we currently rely on the road for the majority of our freight transport. Most of the commodities produced and consumed domestically are transported via road for its time efficiency and door-to-door delivery ability. Often acting as the final piece to our freight supply chain, road complements all other modes of freight transport.
Air freight accounts for a small yet crucial part of Australia’s overall freight movement. Catering to a small and specific market, air is often reserved for high-value or time-critical goods. As the country’s road and rail infrastructure improves, air will also prosper as a more accessible mode of freight transport.
As an island nation, Australia depends on shipping for both domestic and international freight movement. Sea makes up a small but important element of Australia’s overall freight task as the country’s major ports and related infrastructure provide locations for supply chain activities to occur, servicing both bulk and container facilities, and connecting our overall freight supply network.