The details of a railway engineering project for Fremantle Port in Western Australia have been outlined by both federal and state government officials.
An extension to the North Quay Rail Terminal will aim to reduce further port-related traffic in the area, with Australian engineering and construction company York Civil winning the contract.
Deputy prime minister and federal minister for infrastructure Warren Truss and WA transport minister Troy Buswell made the announcement on Wednesday (October 23), highlighting the benefits for regional development.
“Efficient rail infrastructure to improve national productivity is a high priority for the Australian government,” Mr Truss stated.
The project is being jointly funded by state and federal sources, with the Commonwealth providing $18.6 million and the WA government offering $12.4 million.
“It is designed to increase capacity, supply chain efficiency and productivity by extending the existing rail terminal from 400 metres to 690 metres,” Mr Truss continued.
“In turn, this will improve access for container transfer and enable shorter turnaround times, making rail more competitive as a means of transporting containers to and from this busy port.”
His comments came just days after the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) urged state and federal governments to support the increased maintenance of the nation’s freight railways to prevent reliance on trucks.
The ARA argued that freight rail is not only more environmentally friendly than road transport, but it is also safer with fewer fatalities and injuries each year.
Mr Buswell suggested the state government’s contribution to the Fremantle Port project is just the beginning, adding that there is an overarching strategy to boost the container trade rail system statewide.
Rail now has a 14 per cent share of container movements to and from the port, Mr Buswell said, which is 12 percentage points higher than in 2002.
The volume of cargo that fits on each rail journey means truck movements have been reduced by around 72,000 trips every year, he added.