THE Port of Brisbane has received $20 million in Commonwealth funding and a matching in-kind contribution from the Queensland Government to ramp up planning required to directly connect the Inland Rail with the port.
The under construction 1700km Inland Rail promises to connect Melbourne and Brisbane currently terminates at Acacia Ridge.
That means all freight will be need to be trucked the remaining 35km on existing roads unless an alternative is found.
Already 98 per cent of freight is currently trucked to the port using by road, according to the Port of Brisbane website. In 2018, that equaled about 4 million truck movements, and is forecast to increase to 13 million by 2050.
A recent Deloitte Access Economics paper says a dedicated freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane could take 2.4 million of trucks off the road by 2035.
Port of Brisbane chief executive officer Roy Cummins said the Port of Brisbane had always supported Inland Rail in-principle.
"But we think that to do it properly it must directly connect to the ports, without sharing the suburban (rail) passenger network," Mr Cummins said.
"Today's announcement is a step in the right direction. Funding a business case will allow all parties to assess demand, financing, design and timing for this project.
"It should also lead to corridor preservation as an immediate priority."
Mr Cummins said is was important that planning on a dedicated rail link began immediately.
"Without a port connection, the freight this region relies will continue to be moved almost entirely by truck, increasing congestion, emissions and road safety risks well into the future," he said.
"We can't allow that to happen to our community, and we can't allow our freight sector to lose its competitive advantage.
"I congratulate all levels of government for their support of this initiative. They have clearly listened to the Port of Brisbane's advocacy and that of the entire freight and logistics industry."
The story Port of Brisbane: How to take 2.4 million trucks off the road first appeared on Queensland Country Life.