The Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss launched national report on the current state of rail in Australia at AusRAIL 2014 in Perth to a gathering of industry leaders, rail manufacturers and operators from Australasia and beyond.
Trainline 2, the latest statistical report on Australian rail, shows the role of rail in Australia’s economic activity has been fast-tracked in recent years—now accounting for almost half of all freight activity in Australia.
“In 2013 Australian railways carried over 1 billion tonnes of freight and moved more than 850 million passengers. The national freight task is predicted to almost triple by 2050 and by that same year the Australian population will have doubled, with populations of Sydney and Melbourne approaching eight million people each. If Australia is expected to meet this challenge, Rail will have an increasingly important role to play in this space,” Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Railway Association’s (ARA), Bryan Nye OAM said.
Speaking on the specifics of the report, Nye highlighted the immense surge in the movement of freight on rail, with an increase of 57 per cent over the past five years.
“It is appropriate that the launch of this report is in Western Australia, as the growth in freight tonnage has been driven substantially by the resources boom and the export task of moving iron ore and coal to ports. These two commodities account for more than 80 per cent of the rail freight tonne-kilometres, with the biggest task being the movement of iron ore in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Australia’s intermodal freight task is also growing, with tonnages having increased by 65 per cent since 2009-10, to 27 million tonnes”, continued Bryan Nye.
“The rail industry moved over 1 billion tonnes of freight in 2012–13 alone. It would be easy to assume that such growth is just a result of the mining boom. But the Bureau’s data indicates intermodal freight is recovering from the global financial crisis and in 2012–13 intermodal trains moved 28 million tonnes of freight—an increase of 67 per cent since 2009–10”, the Minister said.