Inland Rail Port of Brisbane connection to prevent "truck tsunami", report says

PORT CONNECTION: Port management is behind a freight connection between the Inland Rail and Port of Brisbane but the Inland Rail chief executive said it would not be necessary for another two decades.
PORT CONNECTION: Port management is behind a freight connection between the Inland Rail and Port of Brisbane but the Inland Rail chief executive said it would not be necessary for another two decades.

A REPORT has been released showing a dedicated freight connection between the Port of Brisbane and the Inland Rail would take a "tsunami" of trucks off the roads.

The report commissioned by the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd said a dedicated freight rail connection to the port could mean 2.4 million fewer truck trips per year by 2035.

Acacia Ridge and the Port of Brisbane are connected via an existing shared passenger and freight rail network.

The connection project would allow double-stacked trains to travel straight through to the port.

The report said Queensland's growing population and the subsequent freight task - expected to climb from 1.35 million twenty-foot equivalent shipping containers per year in 2018 to around 5 million in 2050 - necessitated an urgent shift from the region's reliance on road freight.

Port of Brisbane chief executive Roy Cummins said the connection would protect the liveability of Queensland regions.

"If we don't directly connect Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane, Queenslanders won't get the jobs, but they will get the trucks," Mr Cummins said.

"That's because as Queensland's population grows, so too that the freight task. The way our supply chain is established at present, that means a truck tsunami is heading our way."

He said only about two per cent of containerised freight came to the Port of Brisbane via rail, with the rest arriving on trucks. In 2018, that equated to four million truck movements.

"With the current rail constraints in place, that number would increase to over 13 million by 2050," he said.

He said the connection would reduce congestion and emissions and make roads safer.

However, Inland Rail chief executive Richard Wankmuller said at the 2018 Australian Financial Review Infrastructure Conference in Sydney that there would not be enough demand for the connection until about 2040.

The Inland Rail website also states that the majority of freight forecast to be transported via the network was destined for domestic markets in and around Melbourne and Brisbane.

OPPOSED: Inland Rail Action Group members Suz and Stan Corbett with Saint Stephens School principal and Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee member Phil Manitta.

OPPOSED: Inland Rail Action Group members Suz and Stan Corbett with Saint Stephens School principal and Inland Rail Community Consultative Committee member Phil Manitta.

Suz Corbett of the Inland Rail Action Group said Mr Wankmuller's comments showed that the extension was not required but if it were to go ahead, the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd should wear the cost.

"If the company that manages the Port of Brisbane wants and requires a direct link to the port from the Inland Rail termination point at Acacia Ridge or elsewhere along the line, the cost of design and construction including house and land resumptions should be totally divorced from the federally-funded Inland Rail project taxpayer dollars and be totally funded and engineered by the privately owned Port of Brisbane Company," she said.

She also advocated for the trains to be routed to Gladstone, rather than Brisbane, so the line would not pass through high-density suburban areas like Flagstone.