Intermodal company to lift Australian exporter capabilities

By Melissa Coade

February 25, 2022

Finance minister Simon Birmingham
Finance minister Simon Birmingham. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

The federal government has established a new corporation to oversee the development of intermodal terminals along the east coast ahead of the 2027 commencement of Inland Rail. 

The National Intermodal Corporation Limited (previously the Moorebank Intermodal Company) will support the planning, delivery and operation of the government’s intermodal expansion plans. 

The company will work with all levels of government, and alongside the ​​Australian Rail Track Corporation and industry, to develop the Melbourne and Brisbane intermodal freight terminals. It has successfully operated the Moorebank logistics park in the past 10 years.

Erin Flaherty, chair of National Intermodal, said the vision was to build an interconnected network of terminals for above-rail operators.

“We are working with industry to enable an increase in the movement of freight by rail,” she said.

In a joint statement with finance minister Simon Birmingham and urban infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher on Thursday, deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the company would help to bolster Australia’s supply chains by servicing the government’s Inland Rail.

“As an exporting nation, Australia relies on our commodities and manufactured goods reaching international markets to generate the wealth that underpins our standard of living and prosperity.

“We are building Inland Rail […] so that our nation can continue to earn the money that pays for the services Australians need and deserve,” Joyce said.

Fletcher said the company’s work facilitating the development of Moorebank in Sydney – Australia’s largest open access intermodal terminals precinct – had developed ‘significant expertise’ among its board and management. The government hoped this would ensure supply chains kept supermarket shelves stocked, he added.

“Australia’s east-coast interstate rail network will for the first time have a network of interconnected modern, efficient terminals, managed by an independent company, leveraging industry experience, and genuinely promoting open access to encourage new entrants,” Fletcher said. 

For Australian exporters, the government plan is for National Intermodal’s support to keep them internationally competitive. 

The finance minister said the infrastructure would also help with Australia’s post-pandemic recovery.

“This is about backing Australia’s farmers and businesses by making it as easy as possible for them to reach their customers through increasing the capacity of our freight rail network to manage the movement of large volumes of goods across long distances,” Birmingham said. 


What a spectacular failure of infrastructure policy is Inland Rail

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