Once fully operational, Inland Rail is expected to take 200,000 trucks off the road each year, or 150 B-doubles for each train travelling between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Though this may not be great news for the road freight operators that will be impacted, new modelling suggests Inland Rail could cut freight transport costs by up to $213 million a year.
According to CSIRO’s Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Project, released yesterday, moving from road to Inland Rail could significantly reduce the cost of transporting 22 million tonnes of freight annually.
The potential cost reductions cover more than 12,000 supply chains and 94 commodities, including coal, steel, grains, vehicles, horticulture and livestock.
Inland Rail will span 1700km, providing new freight connections between Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland.
Construction began in 2018 and it’s expected to be operational from 2027.
“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,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce.
“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.”
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 saving for Victoria.
Finance Minister Senator Simon Birmingham said the access and connection to Inland Rail’s freight services would contribute to improving productivity and competitiveness.
“CSIRO’s modelling shows how Inland Rail could slash transport costs for more than 90 commodities across Australia,” Birmingham said.
“This highlights the significance of building a national freight network that gives producers and businesses better access to domestic and international markets at competitive prices.”
Inland Rail is the largest transport infrastructure project in the Federal Government’s $110 billion infrastructure pipeline.
Once completed, it will connect every state to a standard gauge line.
The Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Project can be accessed here.