As our population grows, Australia needs to future-proof our freight connections to meet our demands. Inland Rail is transforming how everyday goods travel around a country as big as ours.
It will help reduce our reliance on road freight, and in turn, reduce road congestion and carbon emissions. And for businesses and producers, it will cut freight transit times and increase volumes, making the cost of transporting goods even more competitive. Nobody understands this more than freight logistics company SCT.
If there's one thing Ben Popp knows, it’s freight. The Queensland State Manager for SCT Logistics has been with the business for close to 15 years, starting out at as a picker (warehouse hand) and working his way up the ranks to running the operation in Bromelton, Queensland.
In that time Ben’s not only seen a huge amount of change in the business, but a tremendous shift in Australia’s freight demands as well. And there's one thing he's sure about. The future of transporting goods around our country is Inland Rail.
“SCT has been preparing for a project like Inland Rail for 15 years. We’ve already set up regional freight rail depots in Albury and Parkes in New South Wales, and here in Bromelton.”
SCT move freight by rail between the east and west coast of Australia and Brisbane and Melbourne. They predominantly manage freight for food and beverage companies, but at any one time their warehouse in Bromelton can house a variety of everyday goods.
“Pretty much anything you see on supermarket shelves is either one of SCT’s valued customers or a potential customer,” Ben said.
Ben sees the case for Australia moving more freight by rail as a no-brainer. First and foremost, it’s safer for Australians. One of the trains they send to Western Australia can extend up to 1.8 kilometres long. That’s the equivalent of 100 B-double trucks on our roads. Then there’s also the environmental benefit, with the reduced carbon emissions produced by trains compared to trucks.
He also believes the faster transit times make rail a more competitive option from both a pricing and service perspective for businesses. And with more trains running more frequently, that are a greater length, they’ll be able to move larger volumes than ever before.
“With Inland Rail we will be able to double-stack containers. And when you're talking about 1.5 to 1.8-kilometre-long trains the scale is significant.”
Not only does Ben think Inland Rail signals a new era for freight in Australia, but he also believes its combined benefits will be a great new business driver. Allowing them to go to market and attract even more customers.
“Inland Rail will be a great thing for the business. It will be an enabler that will continue to help us grow.”
Nearly 70 per cent of the goods that will travel on Inland Rail will be for domestic use. For a country whose population is set to grow in size, it’s a project that will help transform the future of freight so we can meet the needs of tomorrow.