The Port of Gladstone
The Port of Gladstone Emily Kemp

Push for Queensland goods to go by ship

A PUSH to increase freight services from Mackay and Gladstone ports will be a huge bonus for highway users across the state.

A Queensland Government committee said moving Queensland goods by ship would improve the Bruce and Warrego highways and the Ipswich Motorway.

In the Inquiry into Coastal Sea Freight report, the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee said benefits included reducing road congestion; less b-double traffic and lower highway repair costs.

Committee chairman Howard Hobbs told APN ports in Mackay and Gladstone were key to the plan.

"Mackay is a perfect example where a lot of the sugar is put into containers and it goes by rail to Brisbane where it winds it way through the city which is a nightmare," Mr Hobbs said.

"It should be loaded straight onto a cargo ship at Mackay and then it just goes rain, hail or shine.

"A lot of the infrastructure is already in place - it just needs a bit of tweaking."

He said highway users would be the big winners if the recommendations were put in place.

"One fully laden ship is (equivalent to) 596 b-doubles," he said.

"And that would replace 10 inter-nodal freight trains as well.

"Ships should be used for all the over-dimension cargo - the big stuff - instead of having to wind their way up the Bruce Highway, holding everybody up.

"The Toowoomba Range is congested - we could take an enormous amount of freight off that road and you wouldn't have to do all the other maintenance and new work."

A spokeswoman for Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the government would consider the report's recommendations.

"The Queensland Government supports developing a coastal shipping alternative for the state, which is a priority in the Moving Freight strategy," she said.

" ... each of its (the report's) 16 recommendations will be thoroughly evaluated and a formal response will be tabled in parliament in the coming months." 



At a glance:

# Australia's domestic freight has grown by 57% over the last decade.

This is expected to grow 80% between 2010 and 2030.

# The movement of freight by sea in Queensland is only 2% of all cargo.

Recommendations from the Inquiry Into Coastal Sea Freight report include:

# Investigate ways to integrate a regular shipping service into Queensland's freight network with a focus on competitive freight rates, sustainable freight volumes and innovative service delivery.

# Work continue on the sea freight action plan to ensure port and collaborative supply chain planning provide an environment that is conducive to a competitive coastal shipping service.

# Changes to Federal legislation and acts to make shipping along the Queensland coastline sustainable.

Why the changes will improve roads:

# Reduce congestion.

# Improve safety by lowering over-size highway cargo loads.

# Cut road repair costs.

Source: Inquiry Into Coastal Sea Freight report.

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