Parkes National Logistics Hub
Parkes has been recognised as having significant potential as a major transport hub for over half a century. FCL Interstate Transport Services was the first transport company to recognise the importance of the site and established an inter-modal freight terminal within the site in 1996. SCT Logistics and Asciano followed FCL and purchased over 600 hectares of prime land between them in the precinct. In 2005, Parkes Council rezoned 516 hectares of agricultural and industrial land in the precinct on the western edge of the town to officially recognise the Parkes National Logistics Hub site as a special enterprise area specifically to nurture a multi-modal freight and transport interchange.
The Parkes National Logistics Hub has been specifically designed for the 24 hour, 7 days per week operation of a Multi-Modal Transport facility. The development is a National Transport Node of strategic significance to freight logistics within Australia.
The Parkes National Logistics Hub is located on the western fringe of the town, less than 5 minutes from the CBD. This provides easy access for employees and service providers though does not intrude on the residential amenity of the town. Major road linkages to the hub include the Newell Highway, which runs north-south between Melbourne and Brisbane and State Route 90 running between Sydney and Western NSW.
As expected, transport and access represents one of the core advantages of Parkes. Extensive transport infrastructure provides Parkes with access to regional, interstate and global markets by road, rail, air and sea.
The Newell Highway is the major arterial linking Melbourne and Brisbane and runs through Parkes at the midway point. Parkes is also easily accessible to Sydney by road by either the Great Western Highway or Bells line of Road (State Route 40).
B-Double access to Parkes is available on all major routes and road-train access is available from the west. Road-train linkages to the Parkes Hub from as far west as Adelaide have been identified. A strategic road transport plan for Parkes has been developed providing a clear strategy for the development of an efficient road network, that both meets the access needs of the Parkes Hub while simultaneously protecting the amenity of the residential areas of Parkes.
Parkes is strategically situated on the Transcontinental Railway linking Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. This rail corridor provides readily accessible rail connections to:
The rail line also intersects with the north-south transcontinental railway providing rail access through to Darwin and into Asia.
Additionally, Parkes is the easternmost point on the east-west rail corridor that allows for high stacking of rail wagons and the assemblage of long trains. To the east of Parkes, steep topography, tight curves, tunnels and bridges, and the freight curfew in the metropolitan areas impose absolute or server constraints.
On Friday 6 August 2010, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government announced that the Federal Labour Government would build the Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Railway and pledged $300m to commence the pre-construction work in 2014. The announcement coincided with the release of the final stage of the Australian Rail Trunk Corporation's Inland Rail Study (ARTC), funded by the Federal Government.
Parkes council has been a strong advocate of the Inland Rail and believes its construction will be a genuine nation building project which will significantly reduce the cost of freight movement, improve safety on highways and freeup the coastal rail routes for passengers. Council has lobbied strongly, made submissions, been active on the ATRC and demostrably developed the Parkes National Logistics Hub, which is perfectly placed and the intersection of nation freight routes.
Parkes has its own airport servicing Sydney which is approximately 50 minutes by air. A leading Australian airline operates 3 daily return flights between Sydney and Parkes. Parkes Airport has also undergone planning for the expansion of the airport with the potential to integrate with the new Parkes National Logistics Hub.
Parkes has access to some of the largest ports in Australia by road and rail. Parkes, being situated at the intersection of major rail freight corridors, provides readily accessible rail connections to:
Sydney (Port of Botany) 8 hours via Blue Mountains
9 hours via Cootamundra 5 hours
Newcastle (Port of Newcastle) 10 hours 6 hours
Brisbane (Port of Brisbane) 18 hours 11 hours
Melbourne (Port of Melbourne) 12 hours 8 hours
Wollongong (Port Kembla) 10 hours 5 hours
Adelaide (Port Adelaide) 16 hours 12 hours
Darwin (Port of Darwin) 45 hours 48 hours
Perth (Port of Fremantle) 62 hours 48 hours
Parkes is extremely fortunate in having extensive fibre optic telecommunications infrastructure. Twin fibre optic cables pass through Parkes joining Brisbane and Melbourne and a third fibre optic cable connects Parkes with Sydney. This provides Parkes with a high level of redundancy as there is an instant alternative to replace a failed cable so that no communication linkage is lost. This provides the perfect platform for the development of a “Communications Hub for National Freight Logistics”.
There has been significant planning at the local, state and national level which will provide the Parkes National Logistics Hub with growth potential.
Planning has been completed for the road network to adjust to increased growth in truck movements to and from the Hub. The quintessential elements of the transport strategy are a Western Ring Road and a Southern Ring Road. The Western Ring Road will provide direct heavy vehicle access from the Newell Highway to the Hub from either direction. The Southern Ring Road similarly provides convenient heavy vehicle access from the Hub to the main Sydney route. Together the ring roads will provide highly effective access and separate the heavy vehicles from the residential and commercial areas of Parkes, thereby providing highly effective access and amenity.
There has been extensive research on the viability of an Australian Inland Railway linking the Port of Melbourne to the Port of Brisbane. Research has indicated that a financially viable single-track standard gauge railway can be built from Melbourne to Brisbane via Parkes. The Ernst and Young, "North-South Rail Corridor Study 2006" indicates a transit time of 20.4 hours between Brisbane and Melbourne is possible for an investment of $3.1 billion. The Parkes National Logistics Hub would become even more important to Australia’s transport network with the development of an Australian Inland Railway however the site is already one of the most strategic transport hubs in the country.
Transport is one of the fastest growing sectors of greenhouse gas emission, primarily because of Australia’s heavy reliance on road transport. Rail uses just one third of the fuel of road transport per tonne of freight hauled. One freight train between Melbourne and Sydney replaces 150 semi-trailers and saves 45,000 litres of fuel and 130 tonnes of green house gases compared with road haulage. The Parkes Hub will promote the use of rail freight and result in a reduction of trucks from the roads.
One of the major objectives of the Parkes National Logistics Hub is to promote Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD). With ESD as a founding criterion, it is anticipated that the Parkes National Logistics Hub will be seen as a “clean-green” development, which is fundamentally different from many existing transport based industries.