Council plans freight future to help boost local economy

Ipswich City Council has developed a new iGO Freight Action Plan which will help boost an annual $1.5 billion windfall to the local economy. 

Council has been working with key state agencies, the freight industry and local businesses to identify the opportunities and challenges facing the city and to develop key strategies and actions that need to be implemented over coming years. 

Mayor Teresa Harding said Ipswich is South East Queensland’s pre-eminent freight hub, given its strategic position on major road and rail networks, the city’s abundance of greenfield industrial land and its proximity to South East Queensland markets and the Port of Brisbane. 

“This plan will empower industries and businesses across the city to grow with efficient, safe and sustainable freight networks,” said Mayor Harding. 

“Our 21st century networks will link the city’s freight generating centres, as well as domestic and overseas markets.” 

A report to the Growth, Infrastructure and Waste Committee said while the transportation of freight across the city is predominantly road-based, Ipswich could become a major rail freight hub in coming years as the Inland Rail project and a potential intermodal freight terminal at Ebenezer comes to fruition. 

“Combined with ever-increasing change in logistics and warehousing, online shopping, technological advances in performance-based autonomous and electric freight vehicles, and delivery of goods via alternative means including small electric vehicles and drones, it is essential that Ipswich identifies and plans for the growing and diverse needs of the freight industry in the next 15-20 years,” the report said. 

In the next decade in Ipswich, freight generation will hit 3.4 million tonnes in 2031 (up from 2.7m in 2016); contribution to output from freight will hit $6.5 billion (up from $4.8b in 2016); and annual gross operating surplus from freight will hit $721 million (up from $523m in 2016). 

There are five objectives underpinning the iGO Freight Action Plan:

  1. Freight generating centres and emerging industrial precincts are well connected to highways and motorways
  2. The freight network is safe, resilient and efficient
  3. Increase freight movements on rail
  4. The amenity and safety of the city’s residents are not compromised by freight movements
  5. The freight network is sustainable and embraces innovation and emerging freight technologies. 

The plan has identifieid 38 actions for council to undertake, each of which fall under the five freight objectives. The plan will be updated every five years to ensure that emerging freight issues are captured and addressed.

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