Updated 3.30PM Tuesday: CSIRO has been brought in to extract maximum value from the $10 billion Inland Rail project across the East Coast.
Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), developed by CSIRO, analyses every possible combination of transport routes and modes (road freight, rail and so on) to optimise freight movements along the supply chain.
CSIRO will run its TraNSIT algorithms over the proposed Inland Rail network in a joint effort with the Federal Infrastructure Department, incorporating existing freight networks and identifying the impact of new facilities like freight hubs.
NSW’s Parkes to Narromine section of the Inland Rail project will be analysed as a pilot study.
CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said the extension of TraNSIT to Inland Rail was a logical step given TraNSIT had already provided detailed supply chain mapping of 250,000 agricultural and forestry enterprises and production locations and more than 350,000 supply chain routes.
”TraNSIT provides a detailed picture of the path to market for each commodity and each region. That includes road conditions, speed, vehicles, trains, axle loads and so on,” Mr Higgins said.
“TraNSIT can then consider what the cost outcome is if we upgraded road, used higher productivity vehicles and so on.
“For Inland Rail we’ll be looking at the what is the catchment of supply chains that could benefit from it.
“We’ll look at intermodal freight hubs and the impact of potential locations, what new industries might use them and what are the benefits of improving the performance of existing facilities.”
TraNSIT has already mapped the road movements of cattle and more than 95 per cent of agriculture and forestry transport Australia-wide.
CSIRO recently applied it to the Federal Government’s $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads program to maximise transport cost savings.
Some findings of note included a recommendation to upgrade the Buntine Highway and Duncan Road from the Victoria Highway to Halls Creek in the Northern Territory.
The road is a popular cattle route to Darwin and if upgraded TraNSIT found the currently rough road would save $183,584 per year or $5.39 per head and reduce cattle truck movements along the Great Northern Highway, which is the only sealed road between the NT and northern Western Australia.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael McCormack said Inland Rail TraNSIT project would help maximise the benefits of the Inland Rail and the Federal Government would collaborate with states and local government to integrate network strategies.
“The Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Pilot Project will be informed by local community leaders and supply chain participants,” Mr McCormack said.
“This is another step toward delivering this significant investment in Australia’s freight future,”
The TraNSIT pilot will kick off with stakeholder engagement for producers, industry and governments.