Fremantle Port leading the charge for freight by rail

Fremantle Port. Photo: Andrew Ritchie
Fremantle Port. Photo: Andrew Ritchie

MORE containers are arriving at Fremantle Port via rail than other major city port across the country.

An ACCC report said Fremantle Port was leading the nation for freight on rail, being 57 per cent higher than the national average.

The port was the only one in the country to experience an increase in freight on rail in the last financial year.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti said freight and trade was part of the State Government’s integrated plan.

“Along with other initiatives such as planning for intermodal terminals, long-term planning for the Inner and Outer Harbours through Westport and making road improvements to ease congestion,” she said.

The report attributed a rail subsidy increase from $30 to $50 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) as a cause of the increase.

Curtin University professor of sustainability Peter Newman said the result was good but needed to be qualified.

“The increase has happened because of the increased subsidy given to rail,” he said.

“This is not as good a result as having a new port where rail is structurally more sensible to use for exports and imports.

“Rail freight is much better as trucks going through the city create too many issues and specifically was such a big program with Roe 8,9 and 10.”

The percentage of freight on rail increased from 16 per cent in 2017-18 to 18.3 per cent average in the first quarter of 2018-19.

Between January and September this year 102,000 TEU were moved by rail compared with 82,000 in the same period last year, removing additional 15,000 one-way truck movement off road.

Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said the increase of freight on rail means less congestion, noise and air pollution for residents in and around Fremantle.