ALC Forum: Gay pledges Port Botany rail duplication
The minister says operational improvements are needed to increase the efficiency of rail freight
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay vows to duplicate the rail links to Port Botany in the opening speech at the ongoing Australian Logistics Council (ALC) Forum 2016 in Sydney.
With the state’s freight task expected to double in volume by 2031 and the volume of containers set to triple, Gay highlights the need to "close the gap left by 16 years of neglect of critical road and rail infrastructure".
The minister says that Port Botany needs both infrastructure and operational improvements to see "real efficiency gains" on the ground.
"This approach is not new," Gay says.
"We’ve seen changes in truck operations through the introduction of PBLIS or our Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy.
"In 2010 when PBLIS was first introduced, the average truck turnaround time at the stevedore’s terminal was 53 minutes.
"Right now truck turnaround times average 24 minutes.
"So the news for road operations is good, but we must get better outcomes for rail."
Gay says both the industry and the government "have a common objective of increasing the efficiency of rail freight – giving stevedores visibility to plan, giving rail operators improved cycle times and delivering better freight path utilisation for rail network owners."
The minister also highlights that the $75 million Port Botany Line rail upgrade needs more work and planning.
"Sections between Enfield and Port Botany consist of a single track.
"I promised I would go away and look at it, I’m devising a plan as to how we can make it work with Sydney Gateway.
"Either way – I’m determined to open a fully duplicated port botany rail line."
Gay also thanked the industry for setting up the Port Botany Rail Optimisation Group, comprising CEOs from the stevedores, rail operators and NSW Ports, which discusses setting up of performance standards for industry members.
"The group has identified and agreed on three key areas to review namely, stevedore productivity; number of containers per train; and idle time within the port.
"They’ve also discussed proposed target measures that address and quantify these key areas which will be agreed at the next meeting in April."
The minister emphasises the relevance and success of the WestConnex project, which has seen a combined investment of $3.3 billion from the state and federal governments.
"By widening and extending the M4 and M5 and joining them together, we unlock capacity for freight movements to the West.
"Even when the initial stages of the M4 widening open to traffic, freight companies will see a difference."
The Sydney Gateway project is an "important addition of WestConnex" that will have a "direct motorway standard connection from St Peters Interchange to the port and the airport", Gay adds.
"With Sydney Gateway, Port Botany rail duplication and the port working better – we will be in a much better position to support our key freight centres, the majority of which are located in Western Sydney."