A new engineering consultancy report evaluating Tasmania has found that investment into crucial transport infrastructure project upgrades could garner massive savings for their economy and if successful may encourage investment in rail throughout other Australian states and territories.
pitt&sherry, an infrastructure consultancy firm was tasked by TasRail, state rail operator to produce the report, basing it on Tasmania’s rail freight network. pitt&sherry quantified what possible benefits an upgrade would provide to help analyse the investment impact upon Tasmania’s rail network.
“Continued infrastructure investment, in rail and roads, will supply a freight system with the capacity and reliability necessary to support economic growth. The wide variety of industries relying on the freight system will be better positioned to seize opportunities and weather temporary downturns when their freight is hauled as efficiently as possible”, believes Principal Consultant of Carbon & Energy, Phil Harrington.
Freight volumes are projected to climb due to increased government investment and it is expected that the more efficient, better performing TasRail system will make the most of the opportunities increased investment provides.
"Over the past five years, the Tasmanian and Australian Governments have provided the funds to rejuvenate the state’s rail system, which they clearly recognise as a critical part of Tasmania’s transport infrastructure”, says CEO of TasRail, Damien White.
1. pitt&sherry found that a dual mode rail freight and road system (favouring freight) would provide greater gains than just a road system in Tasmania. According to the report, over the course of 5 years up to 2019, the Tasmanian state economy would save around $159 million.
"We're pleasantly surprised with the amount of freight we are transporting at the moment, and it equates to $26 million a year savings to Tasmania. The report tells us we are saving $9 million in road maintenance costs alone by not having that freight transported by road”, reflects Mr White.
2. The Report draws attention to the finding that if the promise of investment does fully-eventuate, then total savings made should roughly equal the same level of investment over the coming 5 years. Dividend returns will be generated in the following years.
“These physical and economy-of-scale advantages translate to very low overall costs on a per tonne kilometre basis. Investment in TasRail infrastructure allows these fundamental rail efficiency advantages to be captured by the Tasmanian freight system”, believes Mr White.
3. The Report also outlines improved environmental cost savings and road accident avoidance costs.