- More than 20 per cent of container freight taken to Fremantle Port by rail in 2018-19
- Record high 23.7 per cent of freight on rail reached in April 2019
- Increased freight on rail means less pressure on the metropolitan road network
- WA has the highest proportion of containers carried on rail in Australia
The McGowan Government's policy to raise the container rail subsidy has resulted in a 30 per cent increase in the amount of freight taken by rail to Fremantle Inner Harbour.
The election commitment target was to achieve a 20 per cent share of freight on rail, which was eclipsed in 2018-19 with an overall average of 20.2 per cent.
This is up from the 15.5 per cent share just prior to the subsidy being introduced, and nearly double the record low of 10.9 per cent under the previous Liberal-National Government.
While a mix of road and rail is needed to move Western Australia's container freight task, using rail where appropriate is more efficient, safer and helps reduce truck volumes and congestion on metropolitan roads.
Over the last 12 months, it is estimated the 20.2 per cent rail share equated to around 110,000 one-way truck movements, helping reduce congestion on arterial roads connected to Inner Harbour.
Increasing freight on rail is one of a number of policies brought in as an alternative to the flawed Perth Freight Link proposal.
The McGowan Government is progressing work on the High Street Upgrade and replacing the Fremantle Traffic Bridge with a combined road and rail solution which will allow for additional rail freight capacity into the port.
Meanwhile, the Westport Taskforce continues planning towards the longer term Outer Harbour freight solution for WA.
Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
"We have now surpassed the freight on rail target set prior to the election and are focussed on other road projects that will improve traffic flow to and from the port.
"The container rail subsidy is just one of several actions being taken to reduce the number of trucks on arterial port roads in the metro area.
"Infrastructure works, including the High Street Upgrade and replacing the Fremantle Traffic Bridge, are key opportunities to improve traffic flow.
"Planning to facilitate the development of more intermodal terminals in the greater metropolitan area is also underway, which will enhance the efficiency of the rail system and encourage more freight to move by rail."
Comments attributed to Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"Meeting the target of 20 per cent for freight on rail at the Fremantle Inner Harbour is a great achievement; this is just one of the ways this Government is helping to improve the efficiency and safety of freight movements in this State.
"Fremantle Ports is currently undertaking a market process to determine who will manage and operate the North Quay Rail Terminal in future, which will help drive further efficiencies in rail operations at the port.
"We are also looking at other ways to increase efficiency at Fremantle Port by encouraging off-peak use of the Inner Harbour, off-port container staging and port vehicle access.
"These actions will help improve efficiency, safety and productivity of our freight movements, ensuring WA continues to be competitive both in domestic and international markets."
Comments attributed to Bicton MLA Lisa O'Malley:
"Finding alternatives to the flawed Perth Freight Link was a key commitment of mine before the 2017 election.
"Fast forward two years and the freight on rail target has been achieved, the Westport study is progressing and other key road improvements are underway.
The Beeliar Wetlands is being protected and I'm proud to be part of the McGowan Government, which is delivering sustainable alternatives to flawed Perth Freight Link."
Transport Minister's office - 6552 5500
Ports Minister's office - 6552 6200