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The opening of the $35 million Parkes Logistics Terminal is set increase productivity on the Inland Rail project and make Parkes an epicentre of regional growth.
The Logistics Terminal was opened by Pacific National, joining SCT Logistics and Linfox to connect to the Federal Government’s $9.3 billion investment in the Inland Rail.
Parkes’ geographical location positions it as the epicentre of Inland Rail’s success.
Located at the intersection of the main western railway line running from Sydney to Perth, the future Inland Rail corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane, and the Newell Highway, it is a natural choice to establish an intermodal logistics terminal.
The Terminal will be a central hub where trains and trucks meet to exchange or swap over containerised and bulk freight.
It is set to be the largest logistics terminal in regional Australia.
An overview of Pacific National’s Parkes Logistics Terminal
The North-West Link is already in operation and as more of Inland Rail comes online in the mid-2020s, the national freight rail network will be connected to all mainland state capital cities and major ports, with the Logistics Terminal ideally situated to take advantage of the fast, efficient and cost-competitive Melbourne to Brisbane rail connection.
A boost for inland freight in Australia
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the Inland Rail agenda represented “a game-changer for Australian freight”.
“Construction started on the Parkes to Narromine leg of Inland Rail almost one year ago and already it has proven a boom for local small businesses while also creating almost 900 new jobs—370 of which are local people,” Mr McCormack said.
“Building Inland Rail is the impetus our regions need to see critical investment in their communities, supporting future growth and opportunities, the likes of which have not been seen in decades.
“I am so excited about this nation-building project because it opens opportunities for farmers and regional businesses that would otherwise not be possible.”
Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton, said regional Australia is uniquely placed to support private sector investment in our communities.
“By improving connectivity between major cities and regional areas, we are opening the regions to new investment and enterprise opportunities and putting in place the building blocks of a stronger, more resilient, decentralised national economy,” he said.
“The unique location of Parkes at the intersection of the East-West line connecting Sydney and Perth and the Newell Highway will put 80 per cent of Australia’s population in reach of the Parkes Terminal overnight.
Inland Rail attracting private investment
Mr McCormack said that as industry’s confidence in Inland Rail grows, there would be more investment in our regions supporting local jobs and opportunities, as well as faster, more efficient freight and supply chains that help build end to end benefits for producers and consumers.
“Australia’s freight network gets petrol to our service stations, fresh food to our supermarkets and medicines to our hospitals and chemists,” he said.
Indeed, where possible, Pacific National engaged local businesses and trades to help build the terminal. During construction 20 local and regional businesses were engaged; including earthwork, electrical, plumbing, landscaping, water cart and catering contractors.
Eighty on-site jobs were generated during peak construction, while 90 workers will be based at the new terminal; including locomotive drivers, train crews, fork lift drivers and administration staff.
Pacific National CEO, Dean Dalla Valle, said the Federal Government’s Inland Rail project gave the company great confidence to invest an initial $35 million to establish the Parkes terminal.
“Inland Rail is acting as an ‘economic flywheel’ for regional Australia, helping to stimulate private investment during a time of severe drought in NSW,” said Mr Dalla Valle.
“Pacific National would like to think our investment in this critical piece of freight infrastructure has helped, in a small way, alleviate some of the pressures of the drought for businesses in the Parkes district.”
Mr Dalla Vale said that once the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project is complete, regional enterprises can use Parkes as a launching pad to haul goods and commodities by rail more efficiently to the ports of Melbourne, Brisbane, Botany and Fremantle.
Pacific National’s next proposed investment is to better connect Parkes to Port Botany via the establishment of a freight hub at St Marys in the heart of Western Sydney.
“The hub will allow long regional freight trains from Parkes to be broken into smaller metro-shuttles to more efficiently access stevedoring terminals at Port Botany,” Mr Dalla Valle said.
Multiple tiers of government join forces with industry
The Parkes Logistics Terminal also received support at state and local levels. In February, the NSW Government announced Parkes as the State’s first Special Activation Precinct.
New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, said its support of the logistics terminal will encourage more businesses to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this hub, particularly its connection to Inland Rail.
“The NSW Government wants to see Parkes reach its potential as a freight and logistics hub that will bring regional suppliers closer to their customers and help regional NSW take its product intrastate, interstate and international faster,” Mr Toole said.
“This hub is testament to what can be achieved when three levels of government—Federal, State and Local—work together with industry to undertake good development and planning that considers what our regions need now and in the long-term.
“Pacific National’s investment in Parkes demonstrates what our government has always known, that regional New South Wales is ripe for industry investment and we look forward to seeing more industry get on board as Inland Rail rolls out across our State.”
Mr Dalla Valle thanked the NSW Government, saying establishing this precinct would help streamline planning processes at Parkes.
Pacific National Chair, Russell Smith, also praised the way all three levels of government worked with the private sector.
“Parkes Shire Council developed the vision for a national logistics hub, the Australian Government supported this vision by starting construction of Inland Rail, and NSW Government has streamlined planning at Parkes by establishing a special activation precinct,” Mr Smith said.
Pacific National also acknowledged the dedicated efforts of NSW Office of Regional Economic Development, a division of NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
The post Regional Australia’s largest logistics terminal opens appeared first on Infrastructure Magazine.
This article first appeared on infrastructuremagazine.com.au
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