By 2045, container trade at the Port of Brisbane is forecast to increase by 300%, representing an increase of 4.8% per year. The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit identified that growth at the Port of Brisbane is likely to become constrained by the lack of a dedicated rail freight connection.
Population growth in South East Queensland is creating congestion on both the road and rail networks, negatively impacting on the productivity of greater Brisbane and the Queensland economy as a whole.
The rail connection to the Port of Brisbane is shared between passenger and freight trains on some sections. Passenger trains take priority over freight trains, with freight trains constrained to operate to and from the port only during out-of-peak periods. As freight and passenger demand grows, the shared sections will become further constrained, and additional capacity for freight trains will be required.
The preservation and, ultimately, construction of a dedicated freight rail corridor would allow more freight movements to be removed from the road network, which would help alleviate congestion.
A future upgrade would seek to improve connectivity between the Port of Brisbane and freight terminals in the Brisbane region through preserving and, ultimately, delivering a dedicated freight rail corridor. This would aim to meet the projected increase in freight volumes, while facilitating a modal shift from road to rail.
The Australian Government and Queensland Government have commenced a joint study of options and requirements for this initiative that is due to be completed in 2019. This study will take into account current and future demand and consider the relationship with the Inland Rail Project.
Proponent to be identified.