Port Botany freight rail duplication

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Sydney Port Botany rail freight capacity
High Priority Initiative
Sydney, NSW
Fast-growing cities
National Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Near term (0-5 years)
Proposed By
Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


Port Botany is one of Australia’s most significant import/export terminals for containerised freight, and a backbone asset for economic productivity within Sydney and New South Wales.

The NSW Ports Master Plan (2015) estimated that container movements through the port would grow from 2.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2015 to between 7.5 million and 8.4 million TEUs by 2045.

Part of the Port Botany Rail Line has only a single track. Additional demand arising from growth in import/export freight (in particular from the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal) has the potential to create a bottleneck along this line. This would impact on reliability and restrict the efficient movement of freight across the broader Sydney rail network.

As Sydney’s primary container port, it is vital that Port Botany maintains throughput capacity to meet demand over the long term.

In 2018-19, around 18% of Port Botany containerised freight was moved using the rail network. Increasing this mode share will require additional capacity on the Port Botany Rail Line and the broader Sydney freight rail network.

Proposed initiative

The proposed initiative aims to upgrade the capacity of the Port Botany Rail Line by duplicating 2.9 km of the line. The proposed initiative originally formed part of a broader strategy designed to drive growth in rail mode share for freight to and from the port.

Construction of a passing loop at Cabramatta on the Southern Sydney Freight Line would increase the benefits of the rail duplication project.

The proponent for this initiative was previously the NSW Government. It was changed in February 2019 to the Australian Rail Track Corporation as it is responsible for delivery.

Next steps

The business case is currently under assessment by Infrastructure Australia (Stage 4 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).