Federal Labor has made an election commitment to invest $175 million to duplicate the single-track line between Mascot and Port Botany.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said as a main gateway for container freight, unclogging Port Botany is a priority project for the future of Sydney industries, and central to boosting employment in the industry.
“Duplicating the Rail will free up the movement of goods for exporters and importers, reduce logistics costs and boost capacity, productivity and jobs across industries that rely on container movements through the Port.
“Sydney’s freight task is growing, with Sydney Ports predicting a growth rate of five to seven per cent each year at Port Botany,” Mr Shorten said.
“The more freight that travels by rail, the less congested the roads around Port Botany, including the M5, will be. Only about 14 per cent of containers that arrive at the Port are currently carried by rail.”
The money will help the Australian Rail and Track Corporation (ARTC) achieve its target to take a higher percentage of containers on rail into and out of the Port.
The funding will also provide for a crossing loop at Warwick Farm in Sydney’s West, facilitating better movement by rail of containers.
The funding is subject to an Infrastructure Australia assessment of the business case. The $175 million is by way of equity injection into the ARTC, and will not have an impact on the underlying cash balance or fiscal balance.
Upgrading the freight rail line out of Port Botany is on the Infrastructure Australia Priority List for addressing in the near term.
“Duplicating the Port Botany rail line is critical to improving the overall efficiency of Sydney’s freight supply chains and is welcomed by the logistics industry,” said Michael Kilgariff, managing director of the Australian Logistics Council.
“Getting more freight on to rail in Sydney is critical to addressing Sydney’s rising congestion issues and will support the NSW Government’s vision to double the amount of freight moving to and from Port Botany by rail, which currently sits at around 16% and NSW Ports’ target to move 3 million TEU by rail over the longer term.
“There has been considerable progress over past 12 months to develop a number of intermodal projects in Sydney, which will transform how freight is moved to and from Port Botany.
“These include the Qube/Aurizon Moorebank Intermodal Terminal project, Asciano’s proposed ‘constellation hub’ strategy for Sydney, a proposal by DP World and Toll to connect a container staging zone at Port Botany to an intermodal freight terminal at Villawood and last week’s commencement of operations at NSW Ports’ Enfield Intermodal Logistics Centre by Aurizon.