Efficient intermodal terminals – where trucks and trains transfer freight – are a key factor in the business case for the $10 billion Inland Rail project, which will connect Melbourne and Brisbane via central NSW, a conference in Melbourne last Friday heard.

Simon Ormsby, Executive General Manager Strategy and Corporate Development at Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), which will manage Inland Rail, told the 2015 Rail Freight Conference that regional intermodal terminals needed to be 200 to 300 kilometres from a port, and needed to handle a minimum 10,000 20-foot containers (TEU) annually to be assured of viability. New intermodal terminals are being planned for sites in Melbourne’s western suburbs, Wodonga and Gippsland, spurred by a trend to more containerisation of agricultural exports.

Reid Mather, Executive Officer of the Rail Freight Alliance, said conference speakers explained the elements needed to make intermodal terminals commercially viable and how local government can help establish them. “Intermodal terminals will also be crucial to the success of the Murray Basin Rail Plan, for which the Rail Freight Alliance has been an early and key advocate,” Mr Mather said.

The Victorian Government last month announced it will fully implement the $416 million Murray Basin Rail Plan (MBRP) and, in the 2015-16 State Budget, has committed $220 million to the plan. MBRP will upgrade rail freight services in western Victoria, with construction work set to commence in the second half of 2016.

About the Rail Freight Alliance

The Rail Freight Alliance, which conducted the 2015 Rail Freight Conference, is an advocacy body formed in 1997 by a group of Victorian local councils that united to seek an integrated logistics system in the state worst affected by the historic “break-of-gauge” problem. A more efficient logistics system would reduce road damage from trucks, fuel consumption, greenhouse emissions and noise, while improving residential amenity and road safety for residents in both urban and regional locations.

For further information on the Rail Freight Alliance, see www.railfreightalliance.com ; for media comment,  phone Reid Mather, RFA Executive Officer, 0428 772 264