Road is the predominant mode for the transportation of freight in Queensland, with freight tonnages experiencing an increase of approximately 66% over a ten year period. Roads account for 75% of long distance freight movements in Queensland’s South East Region.
It is predicted that Queensland will continue to experience a significant increase in freight vehicle movements as result of the increase in the population and economic activity. It is forecast that freight movement tonnages will increase at a greater rate than the population.
The Centre for Transport, Energy and the Environment forecasts a growth in the freight task of up to 71.6% in the next 10 years. This growth is unlikely to be evenly distributed on the major road corridors serving regional Queensland. Areas with most population growth, and regions with major mining developments or agricultural production will be most impacted, but growth in freight transport is expected to occur in all parts of Queensland
(Source: Queensland Transport and Logistics Council)
The advantages of rail are its capacity and economies of scale. Rail currently accounts for approximately 30% of the total freight task and is predominantly generated by coal volumes. Coal is the largest commodity moved in Queensland by volume with the majority of movements on rail.
Rail is also the dominant mode for moving grain, sugar, livestock, meat, minerals and concentrates as it is moved from production, processing and storage facilities in the west to bulk handling ports for export.
The opportunities to increase the amount of agricultural commodities on rail are impacted by the seasonal variations in volumes, making it difficult for agricultural industry to compete with mining industry for rail space.
Rail has the potential to increase its share of the non-coal freight market by 10-15% if proven viable; however capacity limitations can result in certain bulk commodities being transferred to road freight. Its contestability is largely dependent upon its ability to compete with road freight.
Rail freight capacity is one of the key constraints on the efficiency of the transport of Import Export (IMEX) containerised freight. Containerised freight is a growing market segment for both imports and exports in Queensland and also for domestic freight, the majority of it travels on roads. The rail share of that market is declining, with only 6% of IMEX containerised freight using rail.
Challenges associated to maintaining the competitiveness and viability of the transportation of freight on rail in Queensland are:
- Competing with passenger priority rail service for paths on a rail network that is approaching full capacity
- Service reliability compromised by priorities given to passenger freight
- Managing freight service around line closures for maintenance of tracks
- Administrative and access on network operators
Optimising existing rail infrastructure is imperative to overcome those challenges and identifying and responding to the challenges that impact on the productive and efficient movement of rail freight. Collaboration between industry and government is necessary to explore options for the long term planning and management of rail freight services that will meet the current and future needs of rail freight users and operators.
Shipping carries 99% of Australia’s total international trade by mass and tonne kilometres and 75% by value. As a result there are major efficiency and economic implications associated with ports and related landside road and rail systems. The advantages of sea transport are its capacity and economies of scale. It is particularly suited to long haul containerised and bulk cargo
Coastal shipping primarily moves bauxite, petroleum and cement products in a north-south direction for domestic consumption and processing prior to export.
Ports play a key role as gateways for international and coastal trade and commerce in Queensland’s logistics network. Ports provide a wide range of facilities that cater for the diverse land/sea interface requirements of international and coastal trade. The Port of Brisbane handles the majority of containerised general freight from international destinations (94%) with regional ports handling the remaining 6% of containers.
The world economy will continue to drive increasing demand for raw materials and energy, and will be reflected in future exports to countries such as China and India. The demand for Queensland mineral will increase as the economies of these countries expand. This demand will drive significant growth in freight activity and put increasing pressure on infrastructure between existing and emerging mining areas and key ports.
Ports play a vital role in Queensland’s logistics network as gateways for international and coastal trade and commerce. Each port provides a broad range of facilities that cater for the diverse land/sea interface requirements of international and coastal trade.
Australia’s ports and landside logistics chains face major challenges from the forecast growth in trade, with Australia’s bulk exports and metropolitan container imports being expected to double in size every ten years
As suggested in the National Land Freight Strategy Update there needs to be greater emphasis on port connectivity. Port activities such as the transport, storage and distribution of import/export containers between both the port and importers/exporters and the point of first pick up and final delivery can influence planning future road and rail landside infrastructure.
Air transport is a major component of the express freight and courier markets.
The advantages of air transport are fast transit times and high quality of service. It is particularly suited to urgent shipments such as medical equipment, newspapers and vital spare parts, its transit times and reliability of service also has advantages for transporting commodities such as cut flowers, livestock, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals
The Air freight industry falls into two main groups:
- Passenger airlines whose operations include air cargo on local and international services.
- Dedicated cargo operators (freighters) who use a combination of their own aircraft and buy space on local and international passenger airlines at a wholesale level.
Air express freight companies provide domestic air freight services by utilising their own cargo (freighter) aircraft and cargo capacity on most passenger aircraft. They provide the cargo terminal operations required to accept deliveries from domestic and international freight forwarders, check weights, prepare aircraft load plans and deliver containers to aircraft side for loading onto aircraft for the domestic and international freight services of some passenger airlines.
Hire and reward warehousing and Postal services employs approximately 45,000 people and accounts for 2.2 percent of Australia’s value added. Employment in this area declined between 2009 and 2010 and in June 2014 Australia Post announced 900 redundancies with a likelihood of more to come as its traditional letter business declines. Against this is the strong growth of package deliveries resulting in increased online shopping. Technology is having a huge impact to these trades, with declining letter mail, increased internet shopping, and in the longer term the possibility of personalized deliveries by helicopter drone being trialed by Amazon, improved logging, tracking and receival of items through better use of IT.
Typically stock holding costs are just shy of 20 per cent of total logistics costs.
Warehouses are concentrated in and near to industrial and agricultural areas, and on urban fringes with good transport connections. Intermodal terminals are warehouses typically located near to each other in a location with good access to urban populations to generate efficiencies.
Current and planned intermodal terminals include:
- New South Wales: Moorebank, Enfield, Chullora, Minto Eastern Creek/Badgery’s Creek (both proposed)
- Victoria: Altona, Somerton, Dynon, Lyndhurst, Western Interstate Freight Terminal (proposed)
- South Australia: Penfield, Islington, Dry Creek
- Queensland: Acacia Ridge, Bromelton (proposed), Ebenezer (proposed)
- Western Australia: Kewdale, Forestfield
- Tasmania: Brighton
The Economic Significance of the Australian Logistics Industry. (Australian Logistics Council)
Intermodal freight terminals are the points within the land based supply chain where non bulk freight, mainly containers are transferred between different modes of transport: rail, road, sea and air. Intermodal terminals play a key role in permitting the most appropriate mode of transport to be used for different elements of the transport task, combining the flexibility of road operations with the linehaul efficiency of rail transport and the ability of sea transport to extend the transport chain beyond the geographical limits of the Australian continent. The participants in the intermodal supply chain includes rail transport providers, road transport providers, terminal operators both import/export and domestic, and shipping lines.
The differences between terminals arise from the nature and volumes of the freight that passes through the terminal, how the freight is handled and the extent of value adding activities that take place while the freight is within the intermodal terminal.
The Australian intermodal sector consists of three distinct subsystems:
- The port orientated system – This is a subsystem that primarily serves international imports and exports.
- The national system – This is a subsystem that is concerned primarily with the interstate movement of non bulk cargoes.
- The intra state system – This is a subsystem that primarily serves intra state movement of freight
(Source: Queensland Transport and Logistics Council)