Increased rail freight reduces pressure on WA’s road network

Fremantle Port has achieved the highest proportion of containers carried on rail in Australia, with over 20 per cent of container freight taken to Fremantle Port by rail in 2018-19.

The port achieved a record high 23.7 per cent of freight on rail in April 2019, with the increased freight on rail resulting in less pressure on the metropolitan road network.

Western Australia has the highest proportion of containers carried on rail in Australia, with the State Government’s policy to raise the container rail subsidy resulting in a 30 per cent increase in the amount of freight taken by rail to Fremantle Inner Harbour.

The overall average in 2018-19 was 20.2 per cent, up from 15.5 per cent just prior to the subsidy being introduced.

While a mix of road and rail is needed to move Western Australia’s container freight task, using rail where appropriate is more efficient, safer and helps reduce truck volumes and congestion on metropolitan roads.

Over the past 12 months, it is estimated the 20.2 per cent rail share equated to around 110,000 one-way truck movements, helping reduce congestion on arterial roads connected to Inner Harbour.

Western Australian Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said, “We have now surpassed the freight on rail target set prior to the election and are focussed on other road projects that will improve traffic flow to and from the port.

“The container rail subsidy is just one of several actions being taken to reduce the number of trucks on arterial port roads in the metro area.

“Planning to facilitate the development of more intermodal terminals in the greater metropolitan area is underway, which will enhance the efficiency of the rail system and encourage more freight to move by rail.”

Western Australian Ports Minister, Alannah MacTiernan, said, “Meeting the target of 20 per cent for freight on rail at the Fremantle Inner Harbour is a great achievement.

“Fremantle Ports is currently undertaking a market process to determine who will manage and operate the North Quay Rail Terminal in future, which will help drive further efficiencies in rail operations at the port.

“We are also looking at other ways to increase efficiency at Fremantle Port by encouraging off-peak use of the Inner Harbour, off-port container staging and port vehicle access.

“These actions will help improve efficiency, safety and productivity of our freight movements, ensuring WA continues to be competitive both in domestic and international markets.”

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