At last month’s Council meeting I presented a Mayoral Minute entitled Trucks, Congestion and Port Botany. In it, I referred to a media release from the Minister for Ports in the NSW Government announcing, in effect, that one new rail freight service to Port Botany by P&O Trans Australia would solve not only the local traffic problems we have, and will have, but also that the service would ease congestion on the M5East.
Since then, representatives of P&O Trans Australia have briefed my office on their operations, present and future, their rail services and their aim to reduce traffic movements. P&O Trans Australia mistook my call for government action to address the Port Botany congestion as some sort of implied criticism of them.
Nothing is further from the truth. Any reduction in truck movements, any movement to rail as the preferred transport mode, is fully supported by this Council and this Mayor.
The rail service between Port Botany and the Yennora distribution centre operated by P&O Trans Australia have the ability to move more than 157,000 containers a year – or over 320 per day.
If you take into account that truck trips per container are two then what this one company has done is get 646 less trucks a day down Foreshore Road and the M5East.
In CO2 emissions this means a reduction of 2,558 kgs a day.
P&O Trans Australia is committed to the transport mode shift from road to rail and has shown that commitment with two dedicated trains operating between Port Botany and Yennora three times a day.
P&O Trans Australia has shown what one operator can do. If they can do it, then others can do the same.
The track is there. The Port Botany rail yard upgrade is in its final stages and the construction of the third terminal is well underway.
What is lacking is direction from both the federal and State governments to support what this Council and organisations such as P&O Trans Australia are doing in getting the containers off the road and onto the rail lines.
P&O Trans Australia are servicing the needs of western Sydney industry – what we need are the other two arms of government to do the same.
What is needed are for 40 per cent containers that pass through Port Botany to be loaded onto a rail services and thence to the distribution centres in western Sydney, the eventual destination of the majority of the containers.
For that not only is there a need for the Yennora and Enfield terminals to be fully operational but also some resolution on the proposed Moorebank terminal. That’s why we need both the federal and State governments to work together because, without them acting on concert, there will not be an optimal solution to a growing problem. P&O Trans Australia has done its bit and no doubt will do more. What we need is for this type of action to be reciprocated.
That was what I was alluding to at our last meeting and I am grateful for P&O Trans Australia in taking steps to make sure Council was fully aware about that they were doing.