4 November 2019
The development of new intermodal terminals in conjunction with the $9.3 billion Inland Rail project has the potential to revolutionise Australia’s freight and supply chain network.

With three truckloads of freight currently moved per person per year in Australia, the country’s freight task is forecast to grow by 35% in the period from 2018 to 2040.

A heavier reliance on rail freight transport is a key way to address the growing freight task given the scale that can be achieved, with a single 1,800m double stacked train operating between Melbourne and Brisbane being equivalent to approximately 100 B-double trucks.

Creating new freight and logistics hubs will remove hundreds of trucks from local road networks daily and slash rail freight journeys to under 24 hours from Brisbane to Melbourne.

In tandem, the government backed-Inland Rail link, which has an expected operational date of 2025, will drive the viability of intermodal terminals within Australia, changing the face of the country’s freight network.

New freight hubs are likely to be created in key sites along the Inland Rail route, with multiple sites already at various stages of development along Australia’s eastern seaboard.

There is already significant interest in the three main Sydney intermodals in Sydney: Enfield (controlled by NSW Ports and Goodman), QUBE’s Moorebank Intermodal and the St Marys Intermodal.

This week, CBRE received a signed lease on 7,675sqm of space with Marinucci Packaging at the Enfield intermodal. The 10-year lease, signed at a net rental of $147.50/sqm, highlights significant rental growth for the area and accounts for the last speculative building in the project. 

The commitment was signed well in advance of practical completion, which is scheduled for early 2020. 

At Moorebank, large tenants such as Target and Caesarstone have gravitated to the facility, with demand spurring QUBE to construct a further 100,000sqm of space (with the fully completed development to be as large 850,000sqm).

The proposed St Marys intermodal is also generating interest and having a flow on effect on adjoining neighbours such as Stockland.

Speed, reliability and competitive cost are the three major deliverables of the Inland Rail, all of which can be addressed through the development of strategically located terminals with immediate access for key users.

These users will likely come in the form of non-time sensitive freight at first, but as rail transit times are reduced to compete with road transport, freight that needs to be moved with greater speed will also be attracted to rail’s reliability and scale. 

The development of these intermodals will also facilitate landside transport-logistics efficiencies and play an important role in easing the transport burden on crowded ports, roads and neighbouring areas.