The Moorebank Intermodal Precinct is more than a decade in the making and offers unprecedented connectivity, functionality, and sustainability benefits to tenants – current and prospective. MHD caught up with LOGOS’ Trevor Lee to learn more.
Located 32 kilometres southwest of Port Botany and Mascot Airport, the Moorebank Intermodal Precinct is a boon for supply chain managers and logisticians as they face a new era characterised by surging e-commerce and shrinking industrial vacancy rates.
According to Trevor Lee, Senior Development Manager at LOGOS, the prime location and dedicated freight rail line from Port Botany to Moorebank will drastically slash the time taken for containers to transit from the port to Moorebank’s import-export (IMEX) rail terminal.
“Moorebank is a very quick journey for a freight train for the containers to go from the port, much quicker than going by road via truck due to traffic,” Trevor says. “The process at the port itself is also quicker and more efficient than the traditional method.”
Currently, with a ship carrying between 5000 and 10,000 containers, it takes about four days from port arrival for a container to reach a warehouse in Western Sydney. With Moorebank’s dedicated freight rail linkage direct from port, the process is far more efficient.
“A whole train arrives at port and can take 80 containers at once,” he says. “So, a ship comes in, they take the containers off the ship, and they put them on the train that’s waiting there. As soon as that train is full of 80 containers, that train then leaves and heads out to Moorebank.”
Compared to trucks lugging containers off individually, occupants of Moorebank can expect this to halve the transit time of goods.
The efficiency doesn’t stop at the port. Once the container arrives at Moorebank, it’s handled by the dedicated IMEX terminal with automated cranes for rail servicing.
“At Moorebank the IMEX terminal operator, Qube, can unload the train and then take your container from the terminal and deliver it straight to the backdoor of your warehouse,” says Trevor. This streamlined operation ensures tenants can focus on their core business operations within the warehouse.
“At full capacity we estimate that Moorebank will take about 3000 trucks off the road every day by moving containers via train,” he says. “This not only reduces traffic congestion but significantly cuts carbon emissions.
“That whole process of a container coming in, going to the dock door, being picked up from your dock door, brought back to the terminal then taken away again, is much faster, more efficient, ultimately cheaper and more sustainable.”
STRATEGIC LOCATION AND DESIGN
Moorebank is strategically located in south western Sydney, close to the connection of the M5 and M7 motorways which services the growing number of major importers both already established and locating to this broader region of Sydney away from the direct port environs. Moorebank is a purpose-built, master-planned terminal built from the ground up, creating a state-significant dedicated freight logistics precinct combining leading edge rail servicing and warehousing. The advantages of this, according to Trevor, are many.
“There are other rail intermodal terminals in Sydney, but nothing of the same size, scale or with a master planned layout that we have here,” he says.
The genesis of the precinct traces back to an announcement by Anthony Albanese, the then Infrastructure Minister, in 2012. “The entire site was previously a Defence facility, right next to the largest army base in Sydney,” Trevor notes. “Backed by a significant Commonwealth Government investment and after a period of careful planning and development – the precinct began its operations in earnest around 2019.”
Aside from rail connectivity and locational advantages, Moorebank sets itself apart for efficient land use.
Traditional methods that involve trucks and massive amounts of hardstand concrete are replaced with automated cranes servicing rail and direct transfer to warehouse by straddle carrier or combi-lift. These dedicated vehicles move the containers from the IMEX terminal to the warehouses, freeing up substantial space on-site.
While big players such as Qube Logistics and Catch.com.au are up and running, and major tenants, Woolworths (Primary Connect) and Mainfreight, are due to commence operations over the coming 12 months, Trevor notes that “there’s still much untapped potential at Moorebank”.
“There are 850,000 square metres of warehouse floor space that we’re planning approved to build in the precinct,” Trevor says. “There’s about 250,000 square metres which are built and occupied currently. That leaves us 600,000 square metres. So, there’s about one third that’s built and occupied at the moment.”
This means that Moorebank Intermodal Precinct is far from reaching its capacity. With two thirds of the site still awaiting development, the precinct presents an immense opportunity for potential tenants seeking efficient and effective logistics solutions.
A SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION
“Like everyone, we utilise solar power – but we’ve taken it to the next degree,” Trevor says. “It’s a huge part of our development and perhaps the defining feature.”
The project’s sheer size has allowed LOGOS and its partner Solar Bay to install and operate significant solar power, leveraging the 850,000 square metres of warehouse floor space for solar panels.
With the ability to generate a minimum of 60 megawatts, the precinct produces “more solar power than we will ever use within the estate”. This means every tenant can power their operations with renewable energy. Furthermore, the surplus power isn’t wasted. “We’ll also export solar power back into the Sydney electricity grid.”
LOGOS is looking at incorporating large-scale batteries into the estate. This would allow the tenants 24-hour access to solar power, irrespective of the weather or time of day.
Unlike many other estates, the tenants at Moorebank Intermodal Precinct don’t have to rely on offset credits from external sources – they can be entirely powered by renewable energy produced on-site.
This carbon-neutral operation extends to the entire estate, including the IMEX terminal and crane automation systems servicing the rail. As electric vehicle technology becomes more prevalent, the precinct will have ample power left over to charge these vehicles.
The sustainability of the precinct is further reinforced by the protection of approximately 100 hectares of land surrounding the precinct. Managed by National Intermodal Corporation, these biodiversity areas will provide ongoing habitat to a range of plant and animal species in the area.
Looking ahead at the vast potential that the Moorebank Intermodal Precinct still holds, it’s an exciting prospect for prospective tenants and businesses. “What we’re really looking for are businesses that will get the most benefit from using the rail, and companies that have lots of containers.”
Businesses that heavily rely on container shipments, whether inbound from overseas or distributed interstate, can greatly benefit from the precinct’s efficiencies. These businesses generally fall into three categories: retailers, third party logistics companies, and materials suppliers.
“So, we have Woolworths (Primary Connect, Catch.com.au (a Wesfarmers e-commerce brand), Mainfreight, Qube Logistics, ATS Timber, PCA Express, and Caesarstone, who import all their stone benchtops from overseas,” Trevor says, highlighting the diversity of tenants already leveraging the unique advantages offered by Moorebank Intermodal Precinct.
“Freight forwarders, who manage container freight for others and distribute it – they will find Moorebank to be a great proposition, too,” Trevor adds. These businesses align well with the precinct’s mission and stand to gain the most from its facilities.
“We have minimum warehouse sizes of about 20,000 square metres, and we can build up to 200,000 square metres for a single tenant. These are big warehouses. This means that large businesses that can utilise these vast spaces, alongside the precinct’s unique logistical efficiencies, are ideal for this amazing development.”
To learn more about the Moorebank Intermodal Precinct, click here.
For more on LOGOS, click here.