ARA wants to see improved freight transport solutions

Broad calls for implementation of the National Rail Industry Plan as he spruiks benefits of rail

ARA wants to see improved freight transport solutions
Danny Broad says cost-benefit analysis indicates that rail transport trumps road.


Given Australia’s freight growth figures the country needs improved supply chains and long-term certainty in transport, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) says.

To that effect, ARA CEO Danny Broad is urging federal, state and territory governments to implement the National Rail Industry Plan.

Broad’s comments came at the official launch of Deloitte Access Economics’ Value of Rail report.

The report notes the benefits of rail transport over road, including accident and emission costs, and community benefits.

"Road freight produces 14 times greater accident costs than rail freight per tonne kilometre and 16 times as much carbon pollution as rail freight per tonne kilometre," the report notes.

"Moving freight by rail instead of road generates benefits for society of around 1.45 cents per tonne kilometre.

"This means that, if all road freight moving between Sydney and Melbourne travelled by rail, this would generate social benefits of $111 million a year."

It is estimated that there will be an additional 88 per cent increase in kilometres travelled by freight vehicles by 2050 and an increase of approximately 2.5 million trucks and light commercial vehicles on the roads.

Based on these growth figures there is heightened need for a more efficient supply chain and improved heavy vehicle pricing framework, Broad says.

"This growth in freight underscores the need for an efficient supply chain and for a heavy vehicle pricing framework that accurately captures the cost of road infrastructure provision and the negative externalities of road usage, such as congestion, vehicle emission and accidents – a point which is reinforced in the report," he adds.  

"It is precisely for these reasons that the ARA has been engaging with Commonwealth, state and territory governments on the benefits of our National Rail Industry Plan.

"The cost-benefit analysis is clear, rail makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy.

"We inject around $26 billion into the national economy, contributing 1.6 per cent of GDP and a key enabler of exports.

"We create over 140,000 jobs in our cities and our regions, provide safe, efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial modes of transport.

"We ask governments to get on board and implement our National Rail Industry Plan to provide the rail industry and the broader Australian community with long-term certainty of improved transport solutions for the benefit of all."

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