Intermodal terminals

Intermodal terminals play a significant role in facilitating 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 other 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 realising the benefits of Inland Rail and maximising productivity in Australia’s freight network.

Intermodal terminals 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.

The Australian Government will contribute up to 50 per cent, capped at $20 million 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 supporting Inland Rail.

The scope of the business cases will include (but is not limited to):

  • defining the business need
  • alignment with government objectives of Inland Rail
  • integration with the broader transport network and wider network dependencies
  • options for delivery
  • economic technical, financial, environmental, social and risk assessments of the proposed intermodal terminal.

More information on the business cases is available on the department's website:

Government involvement will ensure that intermodal terminals, with sufficient capacity to accommodate double-stacked 1,800-metre trains, are available to support Inland Rail in Melbourne and Brisbane from the commencement of services in the mid 2020s.

In Melbourne, the Victorian Government has indicated, through the 2018-19 Victorian State Budget and Victorian Freight Plan: Delivering the Goods 2018, that it is considering intermodal terminals at:

  • Truganina, west Melbourne (referred to as the Western Interstate Freight Terminal).
  • Beveridge, north Melbourne (referred to as the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal).

In Brisbane, the Australian Rail Track Corporation Business Case for Inland Rail 2015 considers the possibility of intermodal terminal operations in addition to the existing terminal at Acacia Ridge, at:

  • Ebenezer
  • Bromelton


The Department sought submissions during June and July 2018 from key logistics and freight 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.

The submissions addressed:

  • Where the optimal site for an intermodal terminal in Melbourne and/or Brisbane is, based on factors such as, but not limited to:
    • the ability to efficiently meet projected freight demand and service double-stacked 1,800 metre long trains
    • proximity to customers and supporting warehousing facilities
    • access to connecting infrastructure
  • When will new or upgraded intermodal terminal developments be required in Melbourne and/or Brisbane.
  • What owner and operator models will allow terminals in Melbourne and/or Brisbane to most effectively and efficiently meet freight demand.
  • What appetite for investment in terminals in Melbourne and/or Brisbane is possessed, or perceived within the market.
  • What impediments exist in Melbourne and/or Brisbane that limit the appetite organisations in terminals.
  • What role, if any, is required of government (Federal, State and/or Local) to facilitate optimal terminal solutions in Melbourne and Brisbane (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 to support Inland Rail.

Intermodal terminals in regional centres

Intermodal terminals in regional centres along the rail corridor would 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.