DELAYS have occurred, but InterLinkSQ inland port construction is set to resume, general manager Blair Batts says.
Mr Batts spoke with Daily Cargo News and explained how construction had been put on hold for a tunnel-lowering project initiated by Queensland Rail.
But, with that out of the way, work on the facility near Toowoomba can resume.
“We are targeting completion by late 2019,” Mr Batts says.
Developing in stages, with a capacity up to 250,000 TEU, the InterLink Global Logistics Centre is to provide opportunities for cold-store warehousing; grain and commodities storage and packing; rail maintenance and provisioning services; a container park including on-site upgrade and maintenance; and food processing.
In addition to the 3km frontage along the existing West Moreton Rail Line, InterLinkSQ is positioned at the junction of three major highways and the eastern extent of the type-1 road train network.
Government-accredited clearing and customs bonded facilities are planned to enable direct export of containerised product through to the Port of Brisbane via an IMEX port shuttle service.
“This positions the InterLink Global Logistics Centre as a true inland port,” Mr Batts says.
Proponents believe businesses are looking at InterLinkSQ because of its proximity to transport and logistics options.
“InterLinkSQ is about putting freight movers and freight makers together,” Mr Batts says.
“Businesses we engage with regularly are looking to future-proof their operations by having cost-effective transport options. The benefit of InterLinkSQ is that the closer you are to the rail hub the cheaper that option is.”
Mr Batts says the response from companies in the region to the development has been “positive, albeit a little sceptical”.
“This is understandable given the decline in rail volumes over the past 10 years and the increase in productivity of the road based freight transport system. However, there is a concern that we currently have all our freight eggs in one basket with a road only system.
“A competitive and efficient freight rail network is an absolute necessity for a robust and secure freight network to ensure the produce and goods from this region make it to the Port of Brisbane and export destinations via the most cost effective, efficient and safe path possible,” he says.
InterLinkSQ sits at the junction of the Gowrie to Helidon section of the Inland Rail, and the border-to-Gowrie section.
“It is the Gowrie to Acacia Ridge [in Helidon] section of Inland Rail, which provides the significant benefit to our region and community,” Mr Batts says.
“It is an absolute imperative for our region that this section be prioritised by the federal government and delivered in the shortest possible timeframe,” Mr Batts explains.
“The government has the opportunity to facilitate this outcome through the public-private partnership framework.”
Currently, the Australian Rail Track Corporation is preparing the draft environmental impact statement for submission to the Queensland Coordinator General’s office.
“We hope that this section of track could be operational by mid-2022 in line with the delivery program outlined in the business case,” Mr Batts says.
This article appeared in the July edition of DCN Magazine