IA endorses corridor protection imperative

Infrastructure Australia (IA) has released a policy paper on the importance of land preservation for future infrastructure needs, Corridor Protection: Planning and investing for the long term.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed the paper, noting that it “powerfully demonstrates the importance of corridor protection in preventing cost blowouts, project delays and community disruption on infrastructure projects.”
“[The] ALC has consistently worked to highlight the necessity of corridor preservation as part of a consistent and coherent approach to developing Australia’s national freight infrastructure,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“Good planning leads to good infrastructure outcomes for the community,” he added. “Preserving corridors to accommodate the infrastructure needed to meet our future freight task lies at the heart of responsible planning policy.
“This new policy paper from IA adds to the weight of evidence demonstrating just how vital corridor preservation is. Making the right decisions today not only helps to reduce the cost of infrastructure projects in the future, but also avoids community conflict and social dislocation by providing certainty as to land use.”
Kilgariff noted that corridor protection was a core theme during a recent ALC workshop held in Brisbane, due to the need to preserve a corridor that will permit an alternative dedicated freight rail connection from the Inland Rail route through to the Port of Brisbane.
“It is pleasing to note IA’s policy paper highlights this very project as one that would substantially benefit from taking immediate action on the matter,” he added. “IA estimates potential savings of $66 million could be achieved if governments act quickly to protect this freight corridor.
“Of course it is equally important to preserve land and corridors in Melbourne, to permit development of an interstate freight terminal that will enable a port-to-port connection for Inland Rail.”

$23m Adelaide depot for 3PL

Northline will open a new $23 million Adelaide depot, what the company says is South Australia’s first intermodal cargo link.
The purpose-built logistics facility brings together road and rail with a direct access cargo link to Pacific National, Australia’s largest rail operator.
The move to a strategic location alongside the Kilburn railhead will improve transit speed and efficiency by alleviating the need for containers to travel by road between Pacific National and Northline’s facilities.
The new Adelaide depot, which facilitates B-double movements, is also located in close proximity to Adelaide’s north-south road corridor, which is currently being upgraded with a $2.5 billion Federal and State government investment.
It also has 3,500 square metres of warehousing space with modern high-bay racking, along with a 440sqm wash bay and container servicing area.
The facility is located on a 30,000sqm hard stand and will be a Quarantined Approved Premises (QAP), and therefore customs compliant.
Northline chief executive Craige Whitton said the new state-of-the-art 10,440sqm Adelaide transport and logistics facility is an investment in the efficiency and effectiveness for the company’s supply chain.
“Northline recognises the need for a multimodal service to meet customers’ needs that has led us to bringing road and rail closer together as well as ensuring easy access to Australia’s major seaports for import/export.
“With investments made over the last three years, Northline now has one of the most modern networks of transport and logistics depots across mainland Australia.”
Northline’s investment in Adelaide is the final stage of a three-year, $98 million investment in new transport and logistics facilities in four states and territories. The company has also opened new depots in Darwin, Brisbane, Townsville and Sydney, as well as moving into a dedicated depot in Mackay.

Northline opens SA’s first intermodal cargo hub

Transport and logistics provider Northline has opened a new purpose-built $23 million, 10,440m2 facility in Adelaide, with a direct access cargo link to rail operator Pacific National.
The facility is strategically positioned alongside the Kilburn railhead, in close proximity to Adelaide’s north-south road corridor, which is currently being upgraded with a $2.5 billion Federal and State government investment
The new Adelaide depot facilitates B-double movements, and will be a customs-compliant Quarantined Approved Premises (QAP).
Northline’s investment in Adelaide is the final stage of a three-year, $98 million investment in new transport and logistics facilities in four states and territories.
The company has also opened new depots in Darwin, Brisbane, Townsville and Sydney as well as moving into a dedicated depot in Mackay.
Craige Whitton, CEO, Northline, said the new state-of-the-art Adelaide transport and logistics facility is an investment in the efficiency and effectiveness of our customer’s supply chain.
“Northline recognises the need for a multi-modal solution to meet customer’s needs which has led us to bringing road and rail closer together as well as ensuring easy access to Australia’s major seaports for import/export.
“With investments made over the last three years, Northline now has one of the most modern networks of transport and logistics depots across mainland Australia.”
Pacific National, a partner of Northline, welcomed the company’s investment, recognising the need for greater collaboration between road and rail transport providers.
“Northline’s facility represents the first intermodal cargo link operation in South Australia, said Andrew Adam, General Manager of Pacific National Intermodal.
“The benefits of the direct movement of rail containers between the rail terminal and Northline’s facility is already being shown with a reduction of trucks on the road and an overall improvement in supply chain efficiency.”
Northline is also seeing increasing demand for warehousing space within its facilities, and the new Adelaide facility boasts 3,500m2 of warehousing space with modern high-bay racking, along with a 440m2 wash bay and container servicing area. The facility is also located on a 30,000m2 hard stand.
The facility is the third such development facilitated for Northline by the Gibb Group.

VTA celebrates project progress and industry resilience

Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson has highlighted the major productivity challenges facing Australian freight and logistics operator in opening remarks to the VTA’s annual State Conference at Lorne.
Anderson said in a big-picture sense, it is a challenging time for all freight operators.
“Freight movements are generally down thanks to a stagnant economy, and operator margins that are already stretched thin are being further squeezed by higher input and variable costs. We are also operating in an increasing regulatory environment and having to adapt our businesses to satisfy and comply with additional regulatory oversight.”
Anderson explained operators are also facing higher road and infrastructure user charges, which eat into profits and erode margins.
“These factors highlight the need for operators to extract greater productivity from their systems, their equipment, their people, their customers and their suppliers to remain viable and successful.”
Anderon noted that there are a lot of exciting things happening in the industry across technology and innovation, safety and training and human resources, and infrastructure.
“We now have a North East Link Authority established and are actively putting together the business case and corridor study for the connection, which will finally link the M80 to EastLink or the Eastern Freeway,” he said.
“This has long been the VTA’s priority road infrastructure project and we are playing an active role in the consultation and planning for the connection, which the current Victorian Government has committed to take to the next election.
Anderson also reflected on the considerable progress made on the West Gate Tunnel project. The Victorian Government last week released additional plans and environmental modelling for the project, which will provide better access to the Port of Melbourne for heavy vehicles.
“While we support the project, we are unimpressed with plans to permanently curfew trucks from existing roads and force them to use a toll road. We’re working closely with the treasurer and the roads minister on incentives for trucks to use the new freeway, such as toll rebates and reduced tolls at nights, as well as exempting modern and efficient vehicles from the proposed curfews.”
Anderson explained that the Association is encouraging infrastructure planning and investments in the Port of Melbourne to ensure it remains Australia’s biggest.
“There are many issues working against freight volumes increasing within the Port of Melbourne, so it’s important we plan now for short- and long-term infrastructure needs at the Port to keep it competitive,” he said.
“This includes improving rail access via Port Rail Shuttles, proper road and rail infrastructure planning for freight movements in and out of the new Webb Dock Terminal, and upgrading infrastructure to accommodate high productivity freight vehicles.”

Moorebank to support continued land value growth in Sydney

The completion of stage one of Moorebank Intermodal and commencement of stage two is likely to help land value growth rates in Outer West and South West Sydney over the next 12 months, according to Colliers International’s recent report – Sydney’s second airport: The catalytic effect of transport infrastructure.
Over the previous 12 months land values in the Outer West and the South West sub markets have increased by 24 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.
Other factors set to help maintain double-digit growth over the coming year include developments under the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan and the continuing shift of industrial users to the west of Sydney. Relocation is proving popular due to relatively cheaper land values and rents, larger sites with custom-built facilities and stronger infrastructure links with new facilities coming soon.
“Industrial land values across the Sydney market have recorded positive annual growth over the past few years, and have entered double-digit growth since March 2014,” said Sass J-Baleh, Manager – Research, Colliers International in the report. “More recently, land values have soared, with annual growth rates in the high 20 per cent since the end of 2015. Record growth rates are expected to continue across all of Sydney’s sub markets. However, there are different fundamental drivers for this growth between the inner sub markets and the outer submarkets.”
Growth in the inner sub markets was found to be driven by stock scarcity due to rezoning, a situation that is not expected to reverse as land previously zoned as ‘industrial’ is being developed into residential infrastructure including dwellings, roadways and train stations.

Parkes NSW makes cheeky Amazon bid

Parkes, New South Wales, a town perhaps best known for its reknowned annual Elvis festival, has released a light-hearted video detailing the reasons why Amazon should choose to set its fulfilment operations up there when the eCommerce giant arrives in Australia.
Telling the story of a man using Amazon to get his hands on an Elvis costume, the video notes that Parkes’ air, road and rail connections make it a worthy contender for Amazon’s warehouses.
Parkes Shire Council noted that the town is an intermodal national logistics hub situated where the north-south and east-west rail corridors intersect, “at the crossroads of the nation,” with a regional airport and accessible road networks enabling over 80 per cent of Australia’s population to be reached overnight.
The Council added that Amazon and Parkes “adds up,” as it offers intermodal transport, affordable land and liveable communities.
Check out the video below.


Melbourne’s second port to be built – in 2055

Infrastructure Victoria has made recommendations to the Andrews government that Melbourne’s second major container port should be built near Werribee, but not for another 40 years, The Age reports.
The suggested site, Bay West, is located between Werribee and Point Wilson, though Infrastructure Victoria notes that it will not be needed until container traffic outgrows capacity at the Port of Melbourne, estimated to happen by 2055.
The port’s container terminal would offshore a four-kilometre industrial island connected via a 1.5-kilometre road and rail bridge.
Road and rail links would need to be established across Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant, a protected site for birdlife.
Infrastructure Australia decided to remove another contender from the running, the Port of Hastings in the south-east of Melbourne, due to to the estimated $5 billion cost of connecting it to Melbourne’s rail network via the Pakenham-Cranbourne line, and the risk of increasing shipping traffic in the ecologically delicate Western Port.
The advisory body did add that the Port of Hastings could perform a supporting role, dealing with shipping of non-containerised goods.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) welcomed Infrastructure Victoria’s advice on securing Victoria’s future ports capacity.
“[The] ALC provided a submission to Infrastructure Victoria which stated that the Port of Melbourne should be able to operate as efficiently as possible for as long as possible,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“[The] ALC will continue to advocate that the recent lease of the Port of Melbourne should ensure it has an operational life of 50 years. Significant long-term investments made by those in the freight logistics industry must be respected and supported by all governments.
“The fact that a second container port has been mooted for operation post-2055, should not prevent much-needed infrastructure, such as the port rail shuttle, from being planned, financed and built as soon as practicable,” he added.
“We also look forward to the Victorian Government’s response to Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-Year Infrastructure Strategy, which incorporated practical measures such as protecting freight precincts, improving rail access at the Port of Melbourne and progressing the Western Interstate freight terminal.”

New container system to save industry $2+ billion

A new system which treats lifting four or six empty containers as a single block using the same principles as the lifting of a six pack of beer cans has been developed to save the industry billions while also improving safety for terminals and shipping lines.
The shipping container has revolutionised international freight transport and continues to account for a greater share of cargo moves every year but the handling of empty containers is a continuing problem.
Repositioning empty containers costs the shipping industry $20 to $27 billion (US$15 to US$20 billion) per year – up to eight per cent of a shipping line’s operating costs – according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
“Moving relatively light empty boxes, which represent over 20 per cent of total in-port container moves, often one by one with powerful cranes and vehicles is incredibly inefficient,” said Selwyn Rowley, Sales and Marketing Director, BLOK-Container Systems (BCS).
“By deploying BLOKs of containers linked with BLOK-Locks and specially developed BLOK Spreaders and Trailers the whole container handling system can be speeded up dramatically using existing cranes and terminal infrastructure which will save money, speed up vessel turnaround, ease congestion and make the whole operation safer on land and sea,” he added.
Martin Clive-Smith, CEO, BCS added, “This is a rare project in which the whole industry will benefit from improved safety and commerce, with minimal changes in infrastructure and practices required.”

New crane tech prevents collisions

Austrian crane manufacturer Hans Künz GmbH, and laser-based sensor manufacturer LASE have announced the successful implementation of a new application on two crane systems at the Intermodal Terminal WienCont in Vienna, Austria – the LaseLCPS-2D (Load Collision Prevention System). Using the laser measurement system, containers can be picked safely, quietly – due to a lack of collisions – and dropped ‘softly’.
The facility is one of the biggest container terminals for inland ports in Europe, where approximately 200,000 containers are handled annually.
Primarily WienCont put a high emphasis on the soft landing function of the crane driver assistance system. This function is activated while the load is being hoisted, and it ensures the container drops without any wear, as well as with noticeably reduced noise pollution.

An animated depiction of the position of the scanners.
An animated depiction of the position of the scanners.

The system comprises two 2D laser scanners from the LASE 2000D-Series that provide highly precise 2D profiles to the measurement software. The laser scanners are mounted under the crane trolley in order to generate a scan area in both trolley directions. While driving over the container stacks, a current height profile of the containers is created immediately. Simultaneously, the laser scanners measure the height of the load – spreader with or without container. In the case of a finished container being moved, the relative distance between the objects is ascertained by the relative position measurement. Thus the measurement system can control the hoist so that the spreader on a container or a container on a container, wagon or truck can be dropped ‘gently’, preventing collisions.
A 3D version of the application software is also available, for use with 3D scanners on RMG, RTG and STS cranes.

Sydney Qube intermodal terminal agreement reaches financial close

The agreement between Moorebank Intermodal Company and the Sydney Intermodal Terminal Alliance (SIMTA) for the development and operation of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Precinct has reached financial close.
SIMTA is owned by Qube Holdings, one of Australia’s largest freight logistic companies, following the acquisition of Aurizon’s interests in the land and project on 23 December 2016. Qube will develop and operate the open access freight terminal and warehousing precinct under a 99-year lease on the combined Commonwealth- and Qube-owned sites.
In June 2015, Moorebank Intermodal Company signed the agreement with SIMTA for the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Precinct, which merged the SIMTA and Commonwealth intermodal terminal proposals into one. Moorebank Intermodal Company will continue to be the Commonwealth entity responsible for facilitating the precinct’s development.
Dr Kerry Schott, Chair of the Moorebank Intermodal Company, said the precinct would deliver significant benefits to southwest Sydney and the broader New South Wales economy. “During construction, over 1,300 jobs will be created and once operations are at full capacity the site will employ approximately 6,800 people,” she said. “Together with the recently announced Commonwealth investment in airport infrastructure at Badgerys Creek, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal will be a major economic contributor to south-west Sydney.”
The precinct will increase the proportion of shipping containers travelling by rail, remove thousands of heavy-truck movements from Sydney’s roads and the nation’s highways every day, and increase the capacity and efficiency of Port Botany.
Moorebank was identified as a priority location for a freight terminal in 2004 and, in October 2016, was included on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list for national infrastructure projects. The site has a direct rail link to Port Botany and the interstate rail freight network which, along with its proximity to major motorways, makes it ideal for an intermodal facility.
The precinct will include an import-export (IMEX) freight terminal with eventual annual throughput capacity of 1.05 million TEU, and an interstate terminal with capacity for 500,000 TEU.
Qube Holdings’ Managing Director, Maurice James, said the Moorebank precinct would transform the freight and logistics supply chain along the east coast.
“The Moorebank development is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity and Qube is pleased to have reached agreement with Moorebank Intermodal Company to deliver this important piece of national infrastructure,” he said.
“Linking one of the nation’s busiest ports by rail to an inland facility with the sheer scale and location benefits of the Moorebank site is a game changer that will deliver huge long term benefits to both business and consumers,” he added.
Stage one of the project, which received planning approval in December 2016, will see the construction of the IMEX terminal with initial capacity of 250,000 TEU, rail links to the Southern Sydney Freight Line, and container processing areas. The first stage of the interstate terminal will follow with subsequent stages to be developed in line with demand, subject to future planning approvals.
The Commonwealth will invest around $370 million in the development, including funding the rail connection between the terminal and the Southern Sydney Freight Line and land preparation works.
Qube will develop, own and operate the terminals and has the development, property and asset management rights for associated warehousing. The precinct will include up to 850,000sqm of integrated warehousing when fully developed.
The IMEX terminal is expected to start operating in late 2018, and the interstate terminal in early 2020.

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