Sydney Gateway ramps issue unites freight bodies

Warning that withdrawal of truck access ramps will boost congestion and reduce safety

Sydney Gateway ramps issue unites freight bodies
Planning for Sydney Gateway, close to the airport, now appears to overlook the nation’s largest empty container depot nearby


A range of freight and logistics industry bodies have taken up the cudgels on plans for the growing plate of spaghetti that is the road system around Sydney Airport.

A grand alliance comprising the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA), Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) and Shipping Australia Limited (SAL) has called on the New South Wales government to re-instate access ramps for heavy vehicles at Canal Road in St Peters to the design of Sydney Gateway.

It insists the move is needed so that the project "delivers the promised safety and efficiency benefits for the freight industry and for the local community".

The grouping is particularly concerned that the decision will result in even greater road congestion around Mascot, producing negative safety outcomes for the industry and for local residents and commuters in what is a fast-growing residential community.

The issue is being addressed today at the ALC & ATA Supply Chain Safety Summit in Sydney, where it is argued that to withdraw the ramps poses a risk to the safety of local residents and road users, and undermines efforts to reduce road congestion in the Port Botany – Sydney Airport precinct.

"When Gateway was first proposed several years ago, Roads and Maritime Services [RMS] had designed ramps to service the Cooks River Intermodal Terminal – which is Australia’s largest empty container park and a significant rail intermodal freight hub – directly from Gateway," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says on behalf of the industry bodies.

"This was a sensible approach, given that ramps at Canal Road would remove at least 1,600 truck movements a day from local roads.  

"This would improve road safety, reduce congestion and enhance community amenity around Mascot, where the residential population has grown exponentially over recent years due to high-density apartment developments.

"However, RMS subsequently decided to remove these ramps from the Gateway design, citing cost concerns.

"We believe this is short-sighted and significantly diminishes the potential freight benefits of the Gateway project by contributing to gridlock on local roads in attempting to service NSW’s key international container port.

"At the same time, it will isolate Australia’s largest empty container park from this new major port road artery, and will condemn local Mascot residents to ongoing truck noise, safety and emission issues.

"If Sydney Gateway is to fully deliver its intended benefits of reducing road congestion in and around Port Botany and Sydney Airport, it is essential that the heavy vehicle access ramps at Canal Road be reinstated to the design prior to the commencement of construction.

"We call on RMS and the NSW Government to work cooperatively and expeditiously with industry to resolve this issue, and ensure Sydney Gateway fully delivers on its promise of reduced congestion, better road safety and enhanced productivity, for freight operators and for all those who rely on the vital economic precinct around Port Botany and Sydney Airport."

Road planning around Sydney Airport has has attracted freight concern in the past

CTAA points to the potential for port container logistics along with local amenity, to be harmed without this part of the infrastructure.

"The Qube/MCS Cooks River Terminal is not only the largest empty container depot in Australia, it is also an important rail intermodal terminal servicing Port Botany and regional locations," CTAA director Neil Chambers says.

"This is not about one company only – Qube Logistics – benefiting from seamless heavy vehicle access to/from St Peters and Port Botany. 

"It's about all heavy vehicles, vital to container trade through Port Botany, having access that reduces conflict with local residents in Mascot.

"Just take a drive from St Peters through the local streets in Mascot to Port Botany and you'll quickly realise that the growth in apartment living in the area is not conducive to hundreds of container trucks a day using those roads to access the Port. 

"Without the Sydney Gateway ramps being built at St Peters, the road transport industry will not be happy if the NSW Government subsequently imposes curfews or other truck access restrictions due to growing residents' complaints.

"Keep freight costs down ... improve road safety and local amenity ... it seems a no-brainer for the NSW economy and community."

Comment has been sought from New South Wales transport minister Andrew Constance.


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