On the front lines
In December 2012, the Australian Government formed the Moorebank Intermodal Company (MIC) – a government business enterprise to facilitate the development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and to work with industry to achieve the project’s full potential. This was announced as a nationally significant infrastructure project that will help Sydney manage the expected growth in freight moving through the city.
At the time, our team acted as technical and environmental advisors for the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, the largest of its kind in Australia at around 243 hectares in size. Led by Paul Greenhalgh, we managed the complex process of conducting a thorough Environmental Impact Study for the project.
From day one, several unique challenges added complexities to the study, beginning with the need for separate negotiations and assessments with state and national regulators.
“The project shone light on a series of challenges to be addressed if wide scale expansion of the rail freight-intermodal terminal concept is to occur successfully,” explains Paul. “They require large plots of land in order to accommodate very long trains, truck movement, container handling, warehousing and logistics.
“The efficiency of the terminal depends on its close proximity to high demand services such as warehousing and logistics, as well as connectivity with regional road and freight rail networks.”
Further challenges were unearthed in the legacy of freight movement within metropolitan Sydney, which has historically relied on shared freight/passenger rail lines. While substantial investment to enhance the freight rail network has been addressed on a national level, completion of new freight rail lines is critical to achieving a comprehensive intermodal-based freight strategy.