ALMOST 10 years in the making, the Riverina intermodal Freight and Logistics (RiFL) hub at an industrial area near Wagga Wagga is attracting new enterprises in addition to those already located there. Coupled with the announcement the Inland Rail project will run on the Great Southern Line, this development is timely to cater for growth of double stacking containers by rail.
The Bomen Business Park includes companies Teys Australia, Heinz-Watties, Southern Oil Refinery, Riverina Oil and BioEnergy (ROBE), Vinidex, BOC Gas, Austrak, Enirgi Group and Wagga Wagga Council’s Livestock Marketing Centre.
Project adviser, James Bolton, said the RiFL Hub Program involves the construction of new major rail and road infrastructure and a freight terminal on 30 hectares. “By establishing the RiFL Hub, industrial production can be expanded in addition to increasing employment and economic activity,” he said. “The primary focus is to shift freight from road to rail plus efficiency gains from reduced product handling resulting in lower costs.”
In April 2017, the Wagga Wagga City Council and Gennesee and Wyoming Australia (GWA), a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, signed an agreement for the latter to construct 5.8 kilometres of track and a new rail terminal at Bomen, so freight is loaded then brought back to the main track.
This is the major rail link between Melbourne and Sydney and, with Wagga Wagga almost exactly half way between these major ports, this facility enables faster access and cheaper rates than using road transport. Currently, container loading has to be managed between trains, limiting efficiency and compromising safety.
“At present, 75,000 containers from Eastern Riverina and 70,000 from Western Riverina are being handled through Wagga Wagga.” said David Bardos, product development manager with the Port of Melbourne. “Commodities include cotton, wines, meats, rice, cereal grains, nuts, oils, meal and timber products.”
“Teys, ROBE, and Energi are ready to expand and having rail access to the major ports only hours away means the logistics of their operations will be covered.”
At present the Bomen Enabling Roads project is employing about 100 people, including 38 subcontractors from the Riverina.
Wagga Wagga Mayor Greg Conkey said the $45-million project was visionary in its scope to ensure reliable freight services across the southern sector of Australia for many decades. “Council’s vision to facilitate this long-term project enables growth and prosperity for generations to come,” he said.