A Deloitte Access Economics paper has urged Queensland to shift its reliance from road freight to freight rail networks.
The project, according to the report, would take up to 2.4 million trucks off the road by 2035 and separate the existing shared passenger and freight rail networks.
Under the recommendation, it would provide a dedicated link from the Inland Rail project to the Port of Brisbane.
With Queensland's subsequent freight task forecast to climb from 1.35 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent shipping container) in 2018 to around 5 million in 2050, population growth and increasing urbanisation of Australia's third largest city makes it necessary to rethink its long time and routine reliance on road freight.
Port of Brisbane CEO Roy Cummins said should Queenslanders want to protect the liveability of their region and boost export capacity, then the time was right to connect Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane.
“If we don’t directly connect Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane, Queenslanders won’t get the jobs, but they will get the trucks,” he said.
“That’s because as Queensland’s population grows, so too that the freight task. The way our supply chain is established at present, that means a truck tsunami is heading our way," said Cummins.
At present only two per cent of containerised freight comes to the Port of Brisbane via rail.
The rest, according to Cummins, arrives on trucks.
“In 2018, that equated to four million trucks movements. With the current rail constraints in place, that number would increase to over 13 million by 2050," he said.
“Deloitte’s paper shows that by building a dedicated freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane and achieving a globally competitive rail modal share, we could remove 2.4 million truck movements from the local road network.
“A dedicated freight rail connection has already been acknowledged by all levels of Government as a key priority through the SEQ City Deals proposition, and it is viewed by industry as a game-changer for the Queensland economy," said Cummins.
In addition to limiting truck movements by 2.4 million, the DAE paper found a 30 per cent rail modal share to the Port of Brisbane by 2035 could deliver
an estimated $820 million in economic, social and environmental benefits each year.
The report anticipated that a new rail terminal could reduce road maintenance costs by $155 million and increase international export value by $210 million.