Freight on rail to meet supply chain demand

According to the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), the government and industry need to use freight on rail to its full potential to help meet present and future supply chain needs.

The ARA outlined this in its report on freight modal shift, which it launched on Monday February 28 ahead of the rail freight and heavy haul stream at AusRAIL PLUS in Sydney.

“It is no secret that moving more freight on rail delivers significant environmental and safety benefits for the community,” Caroline Wilkie, the ARA’s Chief Executive Officer says.

Caroline says the report identifies a range of factors that had traditionally limited mode shift to rail and set out key recommendations to support improved modal share.

“Despite the obvious benefits of greater use of rail, Australia has faced persistent challenges when it comes to meeting mode shift targets to support these goals,” Caroline adds.

GHD Advisory delivered the report, which confirms four areas that were key to increasing freight modal share:

  • Addressing policies on metropolitan networks shared by freight and passenger services
  • Improving land use planning to support the development of rail hubs
  • Supporting new rail terminals to achieve higher volumes
  • Lowering handling costs at ports and rail terminals

Caroline also says the report is a critical piece of research and that the nation’s freight industry is growing.

“Rail will support the majority of the growth in demand over the next decade and will be critical to keeping national supply chains open and operating as efficiently as possible,” Caroline says.

“The report outlines a clear policy and investment agenda to support the growth of rail to meet this need in future years,” she adds.

Other matters the report highlights are using trains and the rail-lines to meet high-volume demands and providing easy access to intermodal and logistics hubs to support the use of rail.

It also shows that if the rail infrastructure is improved, the services would be faster and more regular. Also, if rail-line arrangements and passenger services were improved, the freight work would be easier to do.

According to the report, different transport modes within the sector face very different regulatory and compliance costs. Action was needed to level out the playing field for all parties.

The ARA, Freight on Rail Group and the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications will use further findings from the research to establish an efficient transport network for Australia.

Synergies Economic Consulting along with the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation will deliver the new research.

For more information on the ARA’s freight modal shift report, click here.



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