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Inland Rail to slash freight transport costs

Modelling shows it could benefit road-based supply chains the most

New CSIRO modelling suggests the Inland Rail could cut freight transport costs by up to $213 million a year, resulting in huge savings for businesses and industries that use the line.

CSIRO’s ‘Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Project’ found that a shift from road to Inland Rail could significantly drive down the expense of transporting 22 million tonnes of freight annually.

The Inland Rail could cut many freight costs according to CSIRO modelling

The modelling shows the Inland Rail’s efficiency could be the key to further driving the growth of regional Australia in coming years.

These potential cost reductions cover more than 12,000 supply chains and 94 commodities, including coal, steel, grains, vehicles, horticulture and livestock.

The modelling projects a 40 per cent reduction in transport costs for freight travelling to Queensland, a 31 per cent drop for New South Wales and a 37 per cent reduction for Victoria.

Other projected savings for intermodal freight include an average:

  • $90 per tonne (44 per cent) reduction along the entire route from Melbourne and Brisbane;
  • $184 per tonne (47 per cent) reduction between Brisbane and Parkes, connecting to Perth;
  • $48 per tonne (22 per cent) reduction from Brisbane and connecting to Adelaide; and
  • $62 per tonne (31 per cent) reduction for regional intermodal freight to and from major metropolitan centres and ports.

Businesses relying on road-based supply chain will benefit most from the switch, profiting an average transport saving of $80.77 per tonne, as the modelling shows savings will only increase as Australia’s freight task grows in the future.


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The modelling confirms the positive impact Inland Rail will have on regional industries, especially with transport being a significant expense for Australian businesses and a deciding factor in market growth.

Once fully completed, Inland Rail will take 200,000 trucks off the road each year and connect every state to a standard gauge line for the first time in the nation’s history, according to the Federal Government.

“Inland Rail gives us the greatest opportunity for boosting economic development in regional areas, which is why we are delivering the project as quickly as possible,” deputy PM Barnaby Joyce says.

“Shifting freight from road to rail will drive down the cost of transporting goods and commodities to ports and better facilitate the sale of products, like coal, that underpin our standard of living.”

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