Pacific National strategy flags St Marys hub development

ACFS Port Logistics link to new terminal and broader Four Ps strategy

Pacific National strategy flags St Marys hub development
Dean Dalla Valle


Pacific National has let slip the veil from its "Four Ps" east-west freight strategy that complements its investment in Inland Rail and is to be supported by a significant intermodal hub development at St Marys on Sydney’s western outskirts.

The broad concept that can be visualised as a cross on its side sees continuing major east-west intermodal hub construction at Port Botany, Penrith, Parkes and Perth linked by rail.

"Australia’s largest rail freight operator has set in motion a plan to revolutionise freight movements across the length and breadth of the country," Pacific National CEO Dean Dalla Valle says.

The rail firm’s goal is to offer customers, including regional exporters, more efficient and productive connections to rail heads, ports, and intermodal freight terminals where trains and trucks meet.

"Once the north-south Inland Rail is completed, the east-west spine at Parkes will have a faster and more efficient connection to the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane," Dalla Valle says.

Pacific National is currently constructing inland regional Australia’s largest logistics terminal at Parkes – to run 1,800-metre freight trains double-stacked with containers to Perth – while also proposing the development of a major freight hub at St Marys, near Penrith.

A Pacific National spokesperson confirms the St Marys operation has gained support from ACFS Port Logistics in a 25-year deal and indications are that the hub aims to act as a competitive alternative to Qube’s Moorebank hub.

Read what the Pacific National boss has to say about its Parkes investment, here

Dalla Valle notes the proposed St Marys Freight Hub "is located within Sydney’s biggest catchment area for many of the country’s largest national distribution centres and warehouses which service Western Sydney – one of the most populous and fast-growing regions in Australia.

"St Marys is located within close proximity to the key industrial and commercial estates of Eastern Creek, Erskine Park, Wetherill Park, Arndell Park, and Marsden Park; not to mention the future Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek."

The proposed St Marys Freight Hub is close to the M4 and M7 motorways and Great Western Highway and has direct access to the T1 Western Rail Line allowing for a 58km shuttle run between Port Botany.

"With up to five train shuttle services each day, Pacific National will rail a total of 300,000 containers between Port Botany and St Marys each year, removing between 70,000 and 80,000 truck movements from Sydney’s heavily congested road network," Dalla Valle says.

The hub is expected to receive 1,200-metre regional trains from Parkes to be broken into 600-metre port shuttles to better access stevedoring terminals at Port Botany.

"The Penrith region will act as conduit for regional freight between Western Sydney and Western NSW and further afield to Australia’s second largest port at Botany," Dalla Valle says.

Pending local and state government planning approvals, Pacific National aims to start construction of St Marys Freight Hub this year.

St Marys Freight Hub

According to Pacifi National, the first stage of the proposed freight hub development will support 60 full-time construction jobs.

When operational, the hub will create 150 new full-time jobs in Western Sydney – 100 truck drivers, 20 train drivers, 20 reach stacker and forklift operators, and 10 administration roles.

Works planned to get the hub up and running include upgrades to rail sidings, construction of hardstand areas for container laydown and storage, and rail and vehicle loading and unloading areas.

Terminal facilities such as a wash bay and forklift repair area, an office building, a fuel storage area, a container shed, parking for staff and visitors, heavy vehicle bays, and reach stacker and forklift parking bays are also slated for construction.

It is said to align with NSW government plans, including the Freight & Ports Plan 2018-2023, to establish a series of intermodal freight hubs in western and south-western Sydney to help drive modal shift from road to rail, deliver more efficient haulage services to and from Port Botany, and reduce heavy vehicle carbon emissions.

A single port shuttle train service hauling containers is equivalent to removing 40 B-double trucks from Sydney motorways and roads.


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