INDUSTRY bodies have banded together to demand the reinstatement of heavy vehicle access ramps to the design of the Sydney Gateway project.
The issue has brought together the Australian Logistics Council, the Australian Trucking Association, Container Transport Alliance Australia, Freight and Trade Alliance, Road Freight NSW and Shipping Australia.
They say a New South Wales government decision to withdraw support for heavy vehicle ramps at Canal Road, St Peters, poses a risk to local residents and road users, and undermines road congestion reduction efforts.
ALC chief executive Kirk Coningham when Gateway was proposed several years ago, Roads and Maritime Services had designed ramps to service the Cooks River Intermodal Terminal.
“This was a sensible approach, given that ramps at Canal Road would remove at least 1,600 truck movements a day from local roads,” Mr Coningham said.
“However, RMS subsequently decided to remove these ramps from the Gateway design, citing cost concerns. We believe this is short-sighted and significantly diminishes the potential freight benefits of the Gateway project.”
Mr Coningham said the lack of ramps would also isolate Australia’s largest empty container park and would condemn Mascot residents to ongoing truck noise, safety and emission issues.
“We call on RMS and the NSW government to work cooperatively and expeditiously with industry to resolve this issue,” he said.
Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers said the Qube/MCS Cooks River Terminal was the largest empty container depot in Australia and an important rail intermodal terminal.
“This is not about one company only, Qube Logistics, benefiting from seamless heavy vehicle access to/from St Peters and Port Botany. It’s about all heavy vehicles, vital to container trade through Port Botany, having access that reduces conflict with local residents in Mascot,” Mr Chambers said.
“Just take a drive from St. Peters through the local streets in Mascot to Port Botany and you’ll quickly realise that the growth in apartment living in the area is not conducive to hundreds of container trucks a day using those roads to access the port.
“Without the Sydney Gateway ramps being built at St Peters, the road transport industry will not be happy if the NSW government subsequently imposes curfews or other truck access restrictions due to growing residents’ complaints.”
A spokesperson for Transport NSW said traffic modelling studies showed future transport and general traffic benefits were low compared with the estimated costs of building the ramps and acquiring additional land from Sydney Airport and the Commonwealth.
“Based on these studies, a decision was made not to progress with the Canal Road ramps and these are not part of the scope for Sydney Gateway,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Transport for NSW and Roads and Maritime had been working with industry to explore options for heavy vehicle access at Canal Road.
“We welcome further feedback from industry and have received submissions on this issue from the Container Transport Alliance, Australian Logistics Council and Shipping Australia,” the spokesperson said.
“These are being considered as part of our planning and design process. While Canal Road ramps are not part of the Sydney Gateway scope or funding package approved by the NSW Government, its design will not preclude ramps at Canal Road being incorporated at a later date.”
Any future ramps would require a separate business case with funding, and approvals from Sydney Airport and Government.