Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive, Rebecca Pickering, speaking at the IAQ 2022 conference.

Speaking at the Infrastructure Association of Queensland’s (IAQ) 2022 Infrastructure Assembly, the Interim Chief Executive for Inland Rail presented the project’s capacity for improving reliability in the domestic supply chain and doubling rail freight capacity.

Hosted by IAQ, the event brought together over two hundred infrastructure professionals from Queensland and beyond to discuss the trends, challenges, and opportunities in the state’s infrastructure ecosystem.

Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive, Rebecca Pickering, said construction of the Inland Rail will support and strengthen reliability in the domestic freight supply chain.

“Inland Rail is creating a new reality for Australia and a more prosperous nation, connecting businesses, communities and supply chains with a fast, safe and reliable freight rail network,” Ms Pickering said.

“Right now, only around 30 per cent of the freight between Brisbane and Melbourne is transported by rail but with the arrival of Inland Rail that will increase to over 60 per cent by 2050.

“To help a shift onto rail occur, freight customers want to see less vulnerability in rail infrastructure networks and Inland Rail provides a new, more resilient freight pathway, creating redundancy in the network to improve overall reliability of the system.”

Ms Pickering said the project would help to reduce carbon emissions and support safer, less congested roads by improving the availability and freight capacity for rail.

“That shift to rail will help to reduce carbon emissions and will give us safer and less congested roads,” she said.

“Inland Rail will play a critical part in helping to deliver the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and the National Action Plan that sets an agenda for coordinated and well-planned government and industry action across all freight modes over the next 20 years and beyond.

“In terms of the downstream supply chain, Inland Rail is ensuring full compliance with the Australian Industry Participation Plan and is working with contractors to enhance downstream supply chain capability and capacity.”

Though optimistic, Ms Pickering, maintained that more needed to be done to encourage business participation in the project and in addressing the projects long-lead times, bloated by global supply pressures.

“We are also dividing larger procurements to encourage and allow greater volume of business participation and actively addressing long lead times arising from global challenges that affect regional businesses,” Ms Pickering said.

“Although Inland Rail will deliver great benefits, we can do more to maximise the value that it delivers as the project continues.

“It’s already very promising to see government’s investigating proposals for better connections to rate rail networks and road, and furthering studies on intermodal terminals that can unlock more value from the freight network.”

Feature Image: Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive, Rebecca Pickering, speaking at the IAQ 2022 conference. Photo: ARTC.

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