Big freight savings are expected for horticultural and processed foods such as dairy and chilled meat that use the Inland Rail, according to CSIRO's TraNSIT freight calculator tool.
Horticulture and processed foods that use truck transport to get to market would save $64 to $94 a tonne (an average of $76/t) under a shift to Inland Rail.
The same categories of product that currently use coastal rail for freight transport would save an average of $32/t.
Switching horticulture and processed journeys to Inland Rail would reduce trucks on the Newell Highway 63,000 journeys a year.
Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack said the TraNSIT findings eclipsed the benefits forecast in Inland Rail's 2015 business case, which forecast a an average saving of $10/t for all classes of freight.
"Inland Rail has been described as a game-changer for our farmers and rural and regional communities and the CSIRO's analysis showing freight savings of up to $94 per tonne highlights why we're building this 1700-kilometre corridor of commerce," Mr McCormack said.
"Australian farmers have called on the Australian Government to build infrastructure that improves their market access and helps create efficiencies which can drive freight costs down and that's precisely what we're doing by building the Inland Rail."
CSIRO's TraNSIT tool maps in detail the path to market for each commodity and each region. That includes road conditions, speed, vehicles, trains, axle loads and so on.
It analyses all combinations of routes and transport modes and identifies the optimal freight supply chain combination.
It has been used on a number of freight projects, such as Northern Beef Roads.
For Inland Rail, TraNSIT factored in intermodal freight hubs, the impact of their potential locations, new industries which might use them and the upside from improving existing facilities.
The $10 billion Inland Rail will be a common gauge rail link between the ports of Melbourne and Brisbane, running through regional NSW and is slated for completion in 2025.
It will use existing and new sections of rail track to create a 1700 kilometre freight line which is expected to boost GDP by $16b in 50 years and reduce truck traffic by 200,000 journeys a year.
Inland Rail is expected to spur new investment in regional infrastructure to capitalise on the new freight link, such as intermodal freight hubs, rail sidings, and container freight facilities.
TraNSIT will also forecast freight savings for bulk commodities on Inland Rail, such as cotton, grains, minerals and other freight.
The story Sweet Inland Rail freight savings for hort, processed foods first appeared on Farm Online.