Simta in Moorebank Intermodal Terminal box seat


Logistics and rail giants leap major hurdle towards control over crucial Sydney freight hub

Simta in Moorebank Intermodal Terminal box seat
An artist's impression of the terminal when finished

 

Qube and Aurizon will develop and run Sydney’s Moorebank Intermodal Terminal unless talks with the Federal Government fall over.

Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) has deemed two transport and logistics firms’ joint venture – Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (Simta) – to have the outstanding plan for the terminal precinct, MIC Chair Kerry Schott has announced.

However, if talks fail to end with an agreement within six months, MIC will consider other options.

Two other respondents to the request for expression of interest have been asked by MIC to remain on standby.

"The response from SIMTA was so strong in comparison to the other respondents that it warrants a period of direct negotiation," Dr Schott says.

"This would determine whether suitable terms for the development and operation of the terminal can be agreed.

"Simta’s proposal included development of both [import-export] and interstate terminals as soon as possible, significant capital investment by Simta, and a willingness to take risk on the freight volumes that would use the terminal."

The Federal Government is keen for the terminal must handle import-export and interstate freight, be open access for rail operators and other users, minimise impacts on the environment and community, and minimise any Government support.

Some impediments to the projects have been cleared up.

The Government land for the development is currently used by the Department of Defence School of Military Engineering, which will vacate the site in 2015.

It next to the smaller Simta site.

A ‘whole of precinct’ approach is expected to be more efficient and will provide more space for onsite warehousing and other related terminal facilities.

The win is a huge boost to Qube, which had battled previous Transport Minister Anthony Albanese’s reservations over Simta gaining full control of the site.

"We are pleased to now have the opportunity to bring the two projects together through direct negotiations with Moorebank Intermodal Company," Qube Holdings Managing Director Maurice James says.

"We have always believed that the Moorebank precinct should be developed as an integrated freight hub for South Western Sydney. Adopting a whole of precinct approach will produce the most efficient outcome for taxpayers and the community in the development of this vital freight infrastructure.

"We will work hard over the next few months to reach agreement with the MIC to develop an integrated precinct that will deliver the best solution for the community, the Commonwealth and investors."

Aurizon Managing Director and CEO Lance Hockridge sees the announcement as presaging a congestion-busting solution for the city.

"The project will potentially help unlock the transport gridlock of Australia’s largest city and will deliver strategic and critical export infrastructure for the nation," Hockridge says.

His thoughts were echoed by Australian Logistics Council ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff, who hopes it foreshadows government support for further intermodal hub development nationwide.

"ALC has consistently maintained that one of the keys to moving freight efficiently to and from Port Botany is through adopting a ‘whole of precinct’ approach to the development of Moorebank," Kilgariff says. 

"We are therefore pleased with the progress that has been made, which may allow Moorebank to be developed under a single master plan, and which will ensure the facility operates under an open access regime.

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