20 ways to improve freight and transport on Northern Rivers
A REGIONAL strategy to improve freight and supply chain services and boost future productivity across the Northern Rivers was launched yesterday.
The strategy "From Roots to Routes: An innovative Vision of freight for the Northern Rivers” is a joint project with Northern Rivers Joint Organisation (NRJO), RDA Northern Rivers, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and Southern Cross University.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis thanked the lead authors, SCU and key stakeholders.
"This strategy is an important piece of research for the region and importantly outlines 20 key initiatives to improve connectivity for regional freight and transport industry and users,” Mr Gulaptis said.
"The strategy highlights that the rich agricultural land and coast of the Northern Rivers provides a diverse mix of produce... all at both a small and larger scale. With a broad market reach at national and international levels, access to fast reliable freight networks are paramount for our region's manufacturers.”
The strategy's vision builds upon the existing road and rail networks already in place.
The key changes include increasing regional connectivity through improved B-Double access to Bromelton, the Port of Brisbane, Southern Queensland and Brisbane through the Summerland Way and Clarence Way. It advocates for modification to the Mt Lindesay Highway; and Tenterfield and the New England Highway through the Bruxner Highway west of Casino as well as improved access through Lismore.
SCU's lead researcher for the project Dr Ken Doust said improved access through Lismore would open up an alternative route for the freight transport coming in from the region's western areas into North Queensland and potentially reduce future freight costs.
"There's an increase of congestion on the Pacific Highway around Coolangatta and up that way, this network change increases resilience if issues occur and one route was blocked or disrupted they've got an alternative... it could take the pressure off the Bruxner Hwy,” Dr Doust said.
"It has the potential to reduce freight costs for producers and manufacturers in that western half of the region, in particular.”
The utilisation of the coastal railway and the inland rail corridor to create a rail shuttle to the Port of Brisbane and to Toowoomba/Wellcamp Airport was also a priority. This includes intermodal hubs at Kyogle, Casino and Grafton to provide direct access to rail from within the Region.
A key part of the Strategy was a new framework for regional collaboration that engages broadly with industry and agency stakeholders, to deliver on the initiatives in this plan and allow for capacity building and resilience within the region for the future.
”Internally within the region we found that a number of things companies would like to see happen was sharing - sharing resources, sharing information about freight movements to possibly make use of the some trucks for example, in certain situations from different manufacturers and producers to keep costs down,” Dr Doust said.
Dr Doust said the research team has developed the strategy based on a bottom-up approach from producers and manufacturers in the Region.
"The 20 initiatives establish both a guiding regional framework and a process for further, more-detailed collaboration at a local level,” he said.
"We see this as a living strategy that can continue to leverage specific local and region wide visions, enabling the freight supply chain to continue to adapt to changing circumstances, providing a resilient future for our producers, manufacturers and the wider community.”