Tasmania could save almost $160 million over a five-year periodby moving freight via rail rather than road, according to a study released this morning.
The study, commissioned by TasRail and undertaken by leading infrastructure consultants Pitt&Sherry, shows the savings were generated by reducing costs related to road accidents, pollution and road maintenance as well as the operating costs of industry and commerce.
According to the study, $26 million could be saved in 2013-14 alone.
TasRail chief executive Damien White said the purpose of the study, commissioned in January this year, was to quantify the underlying benefits of the state’s rail freight system at a time when it was enjoying significant growth.
“The study highlights one of TasRail’s important competitive advantages, which is to help industries strengthen their social licences by moving freight by rail rather than by road, is providing vital social, environmental and economic benefits,” Mr White said.
“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.”
A spokesman for Pitt&Sherry said the statistical data used in the study, which was drawn from a range of official government studies and reports, revealed that in 2013-14 the use of rail freight in Tasmania rather than road freight saved around $7 million in road accident costs; $1 million in environmental costs; $9 million in road maintenance costs; and up to $9 million in the operating costs of business and industry.
The spokesman said the savings were forecast to rise over the five-year period to June 30, 2019 and continue well into the future.
The data on which these conclusions were based include:
The Department of State Growth’s Freight Demand Surveys;Road accident statistics and costs;Austroads publications relating to environmental costs of freight transport;The National Transport Commission’s valuations of road maintenance costs; andThe Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics report on road operating costs.Mr White said the essence of the Pitt&Sherry study findings was that on major freight corridors, such as between Brighton and Burnie, rail was the most efficient freight mode.
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