NSW unlikely to hit container freight target at Port Botany

By: Brad Gardner

Trucking industry continues to dominate the container freight task at the expense of rail.

NSW unlikely to hit container freight target at Port Botany
The trucking industry increased its share of the container freight task in NSW last financial year.


Rail’s share of the container freight task in New South Wales is continuing to decline, despite a government commitment to significantly increase the mode’s share within the next six years.

An audit of the State’s transport agencies shows rail accounted for 13.7 per cent of the container freight market last financial year – a drop of 5.1 per cent between 2010 and 2014.

The NSW Government wants rail to move 28 per cent of the State's container freight to and from Port Botany by 2020, but its plan appears increasingly unlikely to happen.

"Transport for NSW advised it is unlikely the target of container freight movement by rail through Port Botany will be achieved without significant government intervention," NSW auditor-general Grant Hehir, who conducted the audit, says.

Rail will need to transport 800,000 TEU by 2020 to meet the Government’s plan. Hehir’s report based on the audit shows the figure is currently 270,000 TEU.

"For four consecutive years the proportion of freight moved by rail has remained stable at around 14 per cent against the target of 28 per cent by 2020," the report says.

Rail recorded an 18.8 per cent share in 2010 and has gradually lost ground since.

Trucking continues to dominate, increasing its share of the task from 81.2 per cent in 2010 to 86.3 per cent (1.7 million TEU) last financial year. It has stayed around 86 per cent since 2011.

Hehir says issues that may affect the ability of the NSW Government to increase rail’s share of the container freight task include prioritisation of passenger services over freight services and a delay in the completion of an intermodal terminal at Moorebank.

Meanwhile, Hehir says the estimated time to travel 1km on Sydney roads has increased in the morning and afternoon peak periods.

 "The morning peak average increased from 92 to 93 seconds in 2013-14, while the afternoon peak increased from 97 to 100 seconds," his report says.

"The deterioration in the afternoon peak travel speeds is mirrored in the average travel speed decreasing from 37 km/h in 2012-13 to 36 km/h in 2013-14."

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