With the Queensland state election looming fast on October 31, here’s an edited extract from the Queensland Trucking Association’s state election blueprint, calling for more investment in the Toowoomba to Port of Brisbane corridor, and an alternative inland highway.
The upgrade of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (Toowoomba Bypass) as a key freight corridor between Toowoomba and Port of Brisbane has unlocked a large part of the enormous economic potential of both the South East and South West of Queensland that will deliver regional prosperity and support jobs.
The Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) is the third largest, and one of the fastest growing container Ports in Australia, handling product worth around $50 billion each year. This represents approximately 15 per cent of Queensland’s Gross State Product (GSP) and approximately 50 percent of Queensland’s international trade by value.
This freight task will continue to grow into the future, from 1.35 million TEUs in 2018-19 to over 5 million TEUs by 2050, requiring almost 13 million truck movements annually. Most importantly 97.5 per cent of containerised import and export freight movements are currently moved by trucks on the road network to the port.
The A-Double combination at 30 metres in length is the optimal combination carrying two 40-foot containers (four TEUs on one vehicle combination). These safer innovative vehicle combinations and two-trailer livestock combinations cannot currently be fully utilised on this corridor forcing significantly more truck trips.
The next Queensland Government must acknowledge the vital role this key corridor performs in transporting road freight between and around the southern region as part of the National Land Transport Network and the National Land Freight Network. Accordingly, the next Queensland Government needs to commit to a further upgrade of assets across the corridor to unlock capacity and allow increased access for the use of High Productivity combinations.
The Bremer River Bridge restrictions on the Warrego Highway are a significant contributor to this cost and the Bremer River Bridge will continue to hold the most potentially productive corridor in the state to ransom for as long as it takes to replace it.
Activating an Inland Queensland Freight Route
Queensland’s freight task is growing and evolving. The increased rate of freight volumes, coupled with the growth in population, employment and tourism, safety and capacity issues will be exacerbated on the road network, resulting in nationally significant productivity losses.
As the Commonwealth Government and Queensland Government seek to increase economic performance of Northern Australia, and also expand the agriculture and resources sectors, there is an urgent need to establish a viable alternative to the Bruce Highway, which is known to be vulnerable to a raft of road safety, flooding, capacity and congestion issues.
The advantages of a QIH include:
• Inland high productivity vehicle (HPV: defined as any multi-combination vehicle used for the purpose of moving freight) route reduces road safety exposure on the Bruce Highway.
• Current inland HPV routes could form a QIH that offers time improvements of better than 10% over the Bruce Highway from Far North Queensland to Sydney and Melbourne.
• Form a QIH with an efficiency advantage over the Bruce Highway from Far North Queensland to Brisbane, by designating HPV access on the full route. This route would take advantage of the new Toowoomba Bypass and be a ten year goal with clear HPV ambition by government.
• Inland HPV routes can be more resilient to natural disasters, providing viable safe options.
With the Queensland state election looming fast on October 31, here’s an edited extract from the Queensland Trucking Association’s state election blueprint, calling for more investment in the Toowoomba to Port of Brisbane corridor, and an alternative inland highway.• Inland HPV routes currently experience lower freight volumes and traffic flows than the Bruce Highway, and a transfer of freight to a QIH would reduce network impacts on the Bruce Highway.
• HPV vehicles on the QIH could lead to productivity gains of around 23% for PBS Level 3 and 49% for PBS Level.