Saturday 4th Dec, 2021

Inland Rail could save $170M annually in transport costs

Freight transport improvements at Port Botany are one step closer, with major firms shortlisted to design and build the Botany Rail Duplication and Cabramatta Loop projects.

The Inland Rail project could save Australian producers, manufacturers, and growers around $170 million in transport costs each year, according to a CSIRO supply chain analysis.

CSIRO has developed the Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool to analyse existing freight supply chains and the potential cost reductions based on future infrastructure investments or operational changes.

Deputy Prime Minister Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Michael McCormack welcomed the early release of findings from the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study as further proof of the benefits Inland Rail will unlock across Australia.

“In regional Australia distances between communities and towns, and towns and cities are measured in more than miles and minutes – they’re measured in the cost of moving essential goods where and when people need them,” McCormack said.

“CSIRO has mapped supply chains for 140 commodities and the early results show an average transport cost reduction of 39 per cent can be achieved by shifting freight from road to Inland Rail for at least part of the journey.”

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Freight travelling the full length of Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane achieves a higher transport cost reduction of 44 per cent.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham welcomed the initial findings of the CSIRO report that highlighted the significant savings Australia’s supply chains could expect when switching to Inland Rail.

“The report recognises businesses as far as Townsville, Perth and Launceston would have the potential to reap the benefits with suitable road-based supply chains to expect a 44 per cent reduction in their transport costs when switching to Inland Rail,” Birmingham said.

“Equally, existing rail-based supply chains are estimated to see an annual cost reduction of around $21 million when shifting at least part of their route to Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane.”

Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton said the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia would bring extensive opportunities to regional Australia.

“This study is the green light signalling to the industry to start planning now because the potential cost savings for being connected to, or close by, Inland Rail are immense for farmers and regional businesses,” Coulton said.

“Heavier, faster freight trains will divert non-bulk products from roads and provide the competitive edge regional Australia has been calling for.”

Concrete World is one of the businesses reconsidering options to move freight with rail. The company’s director, Troy Paton, said Inland Rail will be a welcome freight option, provided it can deliver the cost reductions outlined in CSIRO’s study.

“Up to 39 per cent savings on the cost of moving freight is huge in this industry; we will definitely be looking at Inland Rail for our future freight needs,” Paton said.

“Additionally, it will assist us with further expansion of the business. The time delays in moving freight over the Blue Mountains are a constant constraint.”

Full results of the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study will detail the potential cost savings for 140 commodities and is expected to be released in coming months.

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