Trailer Magazine

Industry objects to NSW Govt direction on Sydney container movements

  • Posted on Tuesday 19th, May 2020.

The NSW Government has come under criticism by transport and industry shipping bodies after they raised concerns that it had failed to adequately respond to submissions it received as part of the Environmental Impact Statement.

Led by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), the group has taken issue with movements of heavy vehicles that sought transit through residential streets en route to Port Botany after leaving Australia’s largest empty container facility Cooks River Intermodal Terminal.

In a joint statement issued this week the ALC, Australian Trucking Association (ATA), Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA), Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA), Road Freight NSW (RFNSW) and Shipping Australia Limited (SAL) said the NSW Government had failed to address the concerns of the freight industry and local residents in drafting the Major Development Plan for Sydney Gateway.

The response also claims that “Transport has been working with the freight industry throughout 2019 to further consider dedicated heavy vehicle access onto and off the project at Canal Road”.

This runs contrary to impressions from preliminary discussions in which industry had claimed that Transport for NSW had continually failed to address these matters in good faith.

"This response merely strengthens the impression that the serious concerns of industry and residents are being brushed aside," it was said in the joint media release.

When first proposed several years ago, the design for Sydney Gateway included ramps to service Cooks River Intermodal Terminal.

It is understood that ramps at Canal Road will remove an estimated 1,600 truck movements a day from local roads – enhancing safety, reducing congestion and improving community amenity in an area that is increasingly popular for residential developments.

According to the ALC, close to one quarter (23 per cent) of all submissions received by Government expressed concern at the effect removing ramps at Canal Road would have for businesses and residents.

"Removing the ramps from the project in an attempt to reduce costs is a short-sighted move that significantly diminishes the potential freight benefits of the Gateway project and flies in the face of industry and community concern," the statement declared.

"Moreover, it will effectively isolate the nation’s largest empty container park from this new major port road artery, and condemns local Mascot residents to ongoing truck noise, safety and emission risks."

The statement also contended that the NSW Government had made several flawed assumptions pertaining to container volumes travelling to and from the west and southwest of Sydney in its response.

Given its proximity to the port, Cooks River Intermodal Terminal would continue to be a critical facility for many logistics operators and shipping lines servicing Port Botany meaning it could not be replicated elsewhere.

Under the plan it was feared Cooks River Intermodal Terminal would be reduced to an island within the project denying users direct access.

"To claim that ‘modelling’ does not support construction of these ramps is disingenuous, given that the original modelling undertaken to assess the ramps included passenger vehicles," the statement claimed.

"As far as industry is aware, no modelling has been done to assess the efficacy of dedicated ramps for the exclusive use of heavy vehicles, nor the benefits to the freight industry and total port supply chain.

"At very least, such modelling needs to be undertaken by the NSW Government before any credible conclusion about the viability of dedicated ramps for heavy vehicles at Canal Road can be reached.

"We call on the NSW Government to undertake this modelling as a matter of urgency – and to share the results with industry and with local residents."

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