A study of the potential for dedicated freight infrastructure in Australia

A study of the potential for dedicated freight infrastructure in Australia cover image

Publication Type:
Commissioned Report

Publication Subject(s):

Release Date:
December 2014

The National Ports Strategy was developed by Infrastructure Australia (IA) and the National Transport Commission (NTC) in 2010 at the request of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

Recommendation 3.10 of the National Ports Strategy is that ‘The Bureau of Infrastructure Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) should assess the conditions under which the introduction of dedicated freight land transport infrastructure segments related to relevant container ports would be justified’. BITRE engaged consultants Ernst & Young to undertake the task.

The project involved a literature search with a review of overseas experiences, stakeholder consultation, identification of potential projects, and rapid cost–benefit and financial analyses of two case study projects to assess their potential viability.

The project concerned access to major Australian container ports only—Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Fremantle. The term ‘dedicated freight land transport infrastructure segments’ has been interpreted broadly. It encompasses freight-only road and rail segments, tunnels, and lanes, but extends to infrastructure investments with a freight priority, for example, a road open to freight vehicles at all times but open to cars only during peak hours to relieve congestion.

Part A of the report contains the literature review, principles under which dedicated or priority freight infrastructure might be warranted, a survey of the landside access challenges facing major Australian container ports, and identification of potential case studies for further investigation.

Part B consists of the two case studies

  • a new road link between the Port of Melbourne precinct and the West Gate Freeway, and
  • a new rail link between the Port of Brisbane and the Surat Basin, which would carry coal and containers.

It should be noted that these are concept projects specified for the purposes of the case studies. They are not intended to replicate actual proposals previously or currently under consideration.

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