A CSIRO-led study on the $10 billion Inland Rail is due to be released soon, and the results are set to show better than expected freight cost savings for farmers in eastern states.
The Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), developed by CSIRO, was deployed to calculate the impact of shifting road movements to Inland Rail.
It is understood TraNSIT has forecast cost savings well in excess of the $10 per tonne figure, which was determined in 2015 by the Inland Rail's business case to federal government.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said freight cost reductions are the key economic driver of the Melbourne to Brisbane rail link.
“A prime reason the federal Liberal and Nationals Government is building the Inland Rail is to reduce the cost per-tonne of moving freight from farms onto domestic and export markets,” Mr McCormack said.
“Inland Rail is going to make great cost-savings into the future and that money will be shared among our farmers and regional communities, creating future economic opportunities and jobs… it’s going to be a real game-changer.”
CSIRO worked in consultation with industry, transport providers, as well as local and governments.
TraNSIT maps in detail the path to market for each commodity and each region. That includes road conditions, speed, vehicles, trains, axle loads and so on.
It analyses all combinations of routes and transport modes and identifies the optimal freight supply chain combination.
It has been used on a number of freight projects, such as Northern Beef Roads.
For Inland Rail, TraNSIT factored in intermodal freight hubs, the impact of thier potential locations, new industries which might use them and the upside from improving existing facilities.
“Once fully constructed, Inland Rail will enable faster, bigger, double-stacked trains to move more produce into domestic and international markets, at a lower freight cost,” Mr McCormack said.
“Inland Rail will drive significant investment in regional communities through the creation of about 16,000 direct and indirect jobs and make a $16 billion contribution to the national economy.”