FREMANTLE Ports reported that it moved 23.9% of its containers on rail in January.

Fremantle Ports manager corporate and community relations Neil Stanbury said: “That percentage not only well exceeds the state government target of 20% but is significantly higher than the five-ports average of 11.4% for Australia.”

Mr Stanbury said overall, rail was quieter, safer and sustainable.

“Last year there were 100,000 fewer trucks on the road coming in and out of Fremantle, as a direct result of strong use of rail. It’s strategic, smart logistics and makes sense,” Mr Stanbury said.

The introduction of new rail wagons in November last year means one train travelling to or from North Quay can move up to 100 containers at once with a single locomotive. Ports of Fremantle said this was  the equivalent of taking up to 65 trucks off the roads.

The port said the efficiency of its North Quay Rail Terminal is a significant contributor to the result, as the facility is set up for the rapid transfer of containers on and off trains.

Mr Stanbury said other Australian states didn’t have the benefit of such a facility.

“Trucks obviously continue to play a role in the movement of containers to and from Fremantle, particularly over short distances, but rail has a very beneficial part to play in the mix.”

Fremantle is the second-smallest of Australia’s major container ports by container throughput. According to the latest Waterline report from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics, Fremantle handled 781,300 TEU over 2020, 9.7% of Australia’s total container throughput for the year (of 8 million TEU).