Part 3: How we will respond to the challenges and opportunities

The chapter outlines key challenges and opportunities for the freight and port industry under each of the Plan’s five objectives. Under each objective, we provide:

  • the strategic target for measuring progress
  • goals and supporting actions for reaching the strategic target.

The five objectives

The Plan’s five objectives were drawn from our analysis of the sector, together with:

Objective 1: Economic growth

Providing confidence and certainty that encourages continued investment in the freight industry to support economic growth.

Strategic target for Objective 1

Progress will be measured against the delivery of key freight projects and programs on time and on budget, including over $5 billion of infrastructure projects in the pipeline by 2023.

Goal 1: Encourage investment by providing greater certainty regarding government priorities and funding

As investment in the freight industry – particularly for infrastructure – has long pay back periods, industry needs certainty regarding government priorities and future plans so that they can have confidence in their long-term investments.

To address this issue, the NSW Government will provide quality and timely information about planned investments in the freight sector. To complement this state-based information, the NSW Government will work with the Australian Government, together with other state and territory governments, to publish national road expenditure and investment plans for the next four years.

The NSW Government will also ensure there are sustainable funding sources to deliver freight network improvements. Sources of NSW Government funding for the freight sector include the Restart NSW fund and the NSW Regional Growth Fund.

As revenue from fuel excise may continue to decline (through increased fuel efficiency and use of electric vehicles), new funding sources or models are being considered at a national level. For example, the reforms to heavy vehicle road user charges being investigated by the Transport and Infrastructure Council, as part of its Heavy Vehicle Road Reform, might underpin increased investment in improving road access.


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Deliver key freight programs and projects

The NSW Government will deliver and improve key freight programs and projects, including the Restart NSW funding committed from 2017/18 to 2022/23 for Fixing Country Roads ($543 million) and Fixing Country Rail ($400 million), which will involve greater consultation with infrastructure managers and the freight industry.

Work closely with industry to enable long-term investment

The NSW Government will work in partnership with key infrastructure partners to enable long term investment. In particular it will:

  • work with commercial infrastructure operators, including NSW Ports and Port of Newcastle, as they deliver their master plans
  • support the Port of Newcastle to explore trade opportunities in new markets
  • support ARTC with its corridor strategies, including the Hunter Valley Strategy and Sydney Metropolitan Freight Strategy.

Support national reforms to investment in the freight network

The NSW Government will:


Goal 2: Simplify and harmonise regulation

Complex and varying regulation across state and territory boundaries can increase business costs. To address this issue, the NSW Government will continue to simplify and harmonise freight industry policies and regulation by supporting national regulatory reform and improvements to NSW legislation. This will be critical for achieving the State Priorities of making NSW the easiest state to start a business and to be the leading Australian state in business confidence.

Regulatory improvements will be critical for encouraging investment needed in the next generation of newer, safer and more productive vehicles to operate on key freight routes and corridors across NSW.


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Support reforms to transport laws and regulatory bodies

The NSW Government will support legislative reforms, to ensure national harmonisation of laws and regulatory bodies governing the freight industry and reduce industry costs, including:

  • the transfer of regulatory functions under the Heavy Vehicle National Law from Roads and Maritime and other state-based agencies to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator 
  • the work of the Transport and Infrastructure Council in reforming the Heavy Vehicle National Law through initiatives such as developing a national system for heavy vehicle registration and reviewing height and mass requirements
  • advocating for Australian legislative amendments to facilitate the greater use of coastal shipping
  • conducting ongoing reviews of NSW legislation and policies governing the freight industry to ensure that it does not impose unnecessary burdens upon industry or hamper innovation.

Improve information and remove red tape for rail operators

The NSW Government will assess and deliver projects to improve information and remove red tape for rail operators, including investigating improvements to Rail Vehicle Accreditation, which could streamline approvals for rolling stock operators.

Assess freight industry compliance costs

To support the above actions, the NSW Government will assess the cost to the freight industry of complying with key regulatory requirements and prioritise red tape reduction initiatives.


Goal 3: Improve freight data

Data on the operation, performance and value of supply chains and the freight network is fragmented and not always shared.

Consistent with its Open Data Policy, the NSW Government has released the data used to prepare this Plan. The NSW Government is committed to building on this evidence base and working with industry to improve the data available to guide investment in the network, support innovation and facilitate improvements for freight.

NSW Government actions to support this goal

Publish and update freight forecasts and performance measure data

The NSW Government will:

  • work with industry to maximise the use and accuracy of data released with this Plan, and update it every 24 months
  • regularly publish performance measure data, showing progress towards the targets set out in this Plan.

Enhance freight data

The NSW Government will:

  • create a “Freight Hub” that links multiple sources of data to support evidence-driven decisions
  • consolidate rail freight data held by various government agencies and stakeholders into a single database with visualisation tools to assist in analysis.

Improve data sharing

The NSW Government will:

  • continue to work with the Australian Government to deliver key priorities in the National Infrastructure Data Collection and Dissemination Plan, including improvements to data on road freight and measures on the contribution of freight to the economy
  • facilitate greater sharing of data where this will provide benefits across supply chains, such as in the movement of rail freight to ports and better understanding the evolving land use needs of the freight industry.


Objective 2: Efficiency, connectivity and access

Improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure and ensuring greater connectivity and access along key freight routes

Strategic target for Objective 2

Progress will be measured against the following targets that track the use, reliability and efficiency of NSW road and rail networks:

  • 90 per cent of peak travel on key road routes is on time
  • rail share for freight moved to and from Port Botany increased to 28 per cent or 930,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) by 2021 (against 2016 base of 17.5 per cent/388,552 TEU)
  • increasing the length of the State Road network approved for appropriate access under priority restricted access vehicle networks
  • maintaining the number of train paths required by freight within the shared metropolitan rail network.


Goal 1: Support the use of technology to improve efficiency and productivity

New technology will play a significant role in improving the efficiency of existing infrastructure and transport. The NSW Government is already delivering a number of technology projects to improve the efficiency of freight networks including:

  • the M4 Smart Motorway project
  • the Cohda Wireless trial of connected technology on three key freight routes in Sydney, to determine how prioritising heavy vehicles through traffic lights might improve overall traffic conditions.

TfNSW’s Smart Innovation Centre, Future Transport Digital Accelerator and Sydney Coordination Office can provide opportunities for entrepreneurs in the freight industry to work with others, including incubators, technology partners and industry. Through these partnerships, they can develop products and digital solutions that will improve the efficiency of the freight network.

“As it is not always feasible to build new assets, it is essential for NSW agencies to make the most of existing assets… The management and use of assets must become smarter, more productive and more efficient to avoid infrastructure spending increasing unsustainably.” The State Infrastructure Strategy

Smart Innovation Centre (SIC) and the Future Transport Digital Accelerator

In 2016, TfNSW released the Future Transport Technology Roadmap to put NSW at the forefront in adopting technologies that will make our future transport networks safer and more productive. This roadmap led to the creation of the Smart Innovation Centre (SIC) and the Future Transport Digital Accelerator (FTDA)

The FTDA involves a six to eight week customer-centred design process aimed at developing digital solutions to transport problems. It is located within the NSW Government’s Sydney Startup Hub, which was designed to provide startups with access to networks, skills, funding and leadership in one central startup precinct.

The SIC has a broad remit to facilitate collaboration between government, industry and the research sector to develop and trial innovative transport technology in NSW.


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Foster trials of emerging technology by industry

The NSW Government will continue to facilitate trials of emerging technology that can improve the efficiency and safety of freight activities in NSW, such as:

  • heavy vehicle platooning on major freight corridors
  • last-mile deliveries by aerial drones in suitable areas
  • last-mile deliveries by land based drones in urban areas
  • vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems to optimise traffic signal timing and reduce travel times for freight vehicles along key freight corridors.

Adopt new technologies to improve the efficiency of government infrastructure

The NSW Government will explore opportunities to apply new technology to manage its networks and will ensure the freight industry is provided with opportunities to provide input into major projects to improve network efficiency including:

Goal 2: Improve flow of freight through trade gateways

Recognising Port Botany’s role as the primary container facility in NSW and plans for Port Kembla as the location for the development of a future container terminal, the efficient operation of Port Botany and Port Kembla requires the co-ordination of a wide range of stakeholders, including stevedores, road and rail freight operators and networks.

The Cargo Movement Coordination Centre (CMCC) was established in 2014 to better coordinate the activities of those involved in the supply chain at Port Botany and Port Kembla. The work of the CMCC will be particularly important to meet the increase in trade volumes at Port Botany.

The Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy, which led to the development of the CMCC, has already achieved substantial improvements in truck turn-around times within the Port Botany precinct, from up to five hours to under 30 minutes. This was achieved through enforcement of mandatory standards for the activities of road carriers and stevedores under the Ports and Maritime Administration Regulation 2012.

As the Port Botany precinct is impacted by Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, the NSW Government will also work with the Sydney Airport Corporation to explore ways to improve the efficiency of operations in and around the airport.

NSW Government actions to support this goal

Improve Port Botany rail window management

The NSW Government will improve the management of rail windows at Port Botany, through better co-ordination of stevedores, rail operators and rail infrastructure managers.

Investigate productivity boosting technologies for Port Botany

The NSW Government will investigate the adoption of new technologies that can improve the productivity of the Port Botany supply chain, which may include:

  • drones (to investigate reasons for delays in moving goods within the Port Botany precinct)
  • a tracking system for containers using latest technology such as sensors with barcodes or licence plate recognition software
  • a new Port Community System to remove repetitive entry of the same information, as well as offering better visibility to the NSW Government and stakeholders
  • an Advanced Container Booking System to ensure certainty of collection and utilisation of unused booking slots
  • a live performance data app relating to the movement of cargo from and to Port Botany by rail (building on the road freight app released in August 2017).

Investigate second truck marshalling area in Port Botany

The NSW Government will investigate a second truck marshalling area in the Port Botany area to cater for additional growth, serve all stevedores and possibly offer specialised transport services (such as dangerous goods transport).

Improve movement and utilisation of empty containers

In collaboration with shipping lines, container terminal stevedores, intermodal terminals and empty container parks, the NSW Government will investigate how to improve both the movement of empty containers into and out of Port Botany (including the use of rail) and their utilisation.

Explore ‘upline’ opportunities at Port Botany

Investigate ‘upline’ opportunities for improving Port Botany efficiency, for example greater use of Enfield Marshalling Yard.

Advocate for an outcome based approach to managing noise emissions from freight aircraft operating in the Sydney Airport curfew period

The NSW Government will encourage the Australian Government to work with industry and the community to trial an outcomes based approach to specifying the maximum noise emissions for freight aircraft operating in the Sydney Airport curfew period, rather than the current approach requiring the use of a specified type of older aircraft.

Goal 3: Improve road freight access

A number of more modern heavy vehicles that can carry greater loads (known as high productivity vehicles or HPVs) have restricted access to NSW freight routes, in particular level 2 and 3 modern performance-based standard (PBS) vehicles. These restrictions limit the efficiency of road freight and contribute to congestion because they result in a greater number of vehicles being required for the road freight task.

Expenditure is needed to further upgrade road infrastructure to accommodate safer and more productive higher productivity vehicles that may be longer and heavier. TfNSW has developed a Heavy Vehicle Access Policy Framework (HVAPF) that identifies key freight routes and the types of HPVs that should be permitted to operate on them. This will guide investment in road infrastructure, including the identification of network constraints and the prioritisation of network improvements on council and State roads.

As local councils are the owners and managers of most of the NSW road network, they will play a vital role in ensuring that this policy delivers real productivity improvements by granting access to vehicles on identified freight routes where the infrastructure can support them and prioritising maintenance and network improvements to support access.

Local council support for schemes established to facilitate more efficient transport of particular commodities is also crucial. These schemes include the Grain Harvest Management Scheme, NSW Livestock Loading Scheme and Safety, Productivity and Environment Construction Transport Scheme (SPECTS).

In addition, there are restrictions on the ability to efficiently transport dangerous goods on the road network. Prohibitions on the use of tunnels, and additional restrictions imposed on the use of certain roads to transport dangerous goods, is placing added pressure on existing road corridors to move increasing volumes of dangerous goods. For example, restrictions imposed on the transport of dangerous goods in proximity to Port Botany have resulted in two roads (Foreshore Road and Denison Street) remaining to provide access for vehicles transporting dangerous goods.

NSW Government actions to address this goal

Implement the NSW Heavy Vehicle Access Policy Framework

The NSW Government will implement the NSW Heavy Vehicle Access Policy Framework (HVAPF) that establishes networks of specified roads that can be used by higher productivity vehicles across the whole of NSW, reducing the need for operators of PBS fleets to obtain permits on a case by case basis. 

Fund infrastructure improvements to increase HPV road access

The NSW Government will continue to provide funding to regional councils to improve road freight access on local and regional roads through the Fixing Country Roads program and to replace or upgrade bridges in key regional locations under the Bridges for the Bush program. The NSW Government will evaluate the productivity benefits resulting from funding made available under these schemes to ensure that benefits are realised. 

The NSW Government will also continue to provide funding under the Regional Road Freight Corridor Fund to upgrade key regional highways, ensuring that investment targets freight productivity upgrades on key east-west routes linking the National Land Transport Network via a top-down strategic approach, supported by completed Corridor Strategies and business cases.

In addition, the NSW Government will investigate a program similar to Fixing Country Roads to fund improvements to allow greater mass and more productive vehicles on roads and bridges in identified freight links in metropolitan Sydney for key commodities such as construction materials.

Assist local councils in making HPV access decisions

The NSW Government will assist local councils to make timely access decisions by providing information to assist in identifying key freight corridors, assessing bridge and pavement capacity, understanding the safety features of PBS vehicles and their impact on reducing truck movements. This will include:

Expand the coverage and uptake of heavy vehicle mass concession schemes

The NSW Government will expand the coverage and uptake of existing heavy vehicle mass concession schemes and ensure they provide improved safety, environmental and productivity outcomes.

Review dangerous goods transport

The NSW Government will ensure that, where feasible, new tunnels include best practice design to provide greater flexibility for the movement of dangerous goods and identify options to improve the efficiency of vehicles carrying dangerous goods through the NSW Dangerous Goods Transport Working Group.

Goal 4: Manage freight in key urban centres

A major part of the state’s freight and servicing activity is concentrated in key business districts and employment centres such as the Sydney CBD, Macquarie Park and Parramatta. Freight vehicles in these areas face strong competition for limited road and kerbside space between 9am and 12pm on weekdays. As a result, freight vehicle drivers need to walk further to delivery points and therefore dwell longer in kerbside loading zones, further restricting access.

E-commerce sales are also growing rapidly, which is generating more and more deliveries to homes, offices, parcel lockers or other drop-off locations. This is likely to drive an increased emphasis on the remodelling of supply chains.

At the same time, communities are putting a greater emphasis on improving the liveability of urban centres. Such community aspirations are often in conflict with the freight task, as improving liveability often means giving greater priority to pedestrian activity over vehicle movement.

To strike a balance between efficiency of freight and the liveability of our communities, the freight industry needs to consider other approaches to manage the urban freight task. These include:

  • improved management of kerbside space
  • retiming of freight and non-emergency servicing tasks
  • use of alternative modes where practical
  • establishment of urban consolidation centres
  • better design and use of off-street facilities.

Within key urban centres, building managers, businesses and logistics companies can produce cost saving efficiencies by developing and implementing delivery service plans for buildings, precinct delivery models and agreements for the sharing of loading docks. As with other global cities, the high cost of land and developments will encourage developers to look for efficient logistics operations that can support their buildings and provide a high level of service to their tenants.

Retiming trials

By retiming deliveries and collections, transport companies can take advantage of capacity in kerbside loading zone space, which exists before 7am, in the afternoon after 3pm, and overnight.

Transport for NSW’s Sydney Coordination Office has conducted retiming trials with industry stakeholders. Benefits identified from these trials include:

  • up to 50 per cent reduction in travel time to reach Sydney CBD from Western Sydney
  • 15-45 per cent reduction in kilometres travelled and travel time within the CBD
  • 30-50 per cent reduction in building servicing time
  • 30-40 per cent improvement in operator capacity.

Partnerships within supply chains involving transporters, suppliers and their customers are critical to identify retiming opportunities and maximise potential efficiency gains.


Goulburn Street Courier Hub

Transport for NSW, in partnership with the City of Sydney, established the Goulburn Street Courier Hub in a car park on the fringe of the Sydney CBD. This hub acts as a consolidation centre, enabling participating couriers to use off-street secure cage and locker facilities to interchange parcels and goods for last mile delivery (or first mile collection) by alternate modes.

Larger conventional vehicles drop off consolidated loads for distribution by bicycle, foot or smaller vehicle. Goods and parcels collected in the CBD can be consolidated into fewer shipments at the hub for delivery to other parts of the city. This cuts down on the number of commercial vehicles and trips required for the freight task which, in turn, reduces traffic congestion and kerbside demand in the heart of the CBD.

In an assessment conducted by the Sydney Coordination Office in 2016, a conventional courier van and a bike courier were required to deliver 10 parcels from the Courier Hub to locations across the CBD. The bike courier was twice as fast as the van courier. Similar results are found in other cities around the world.

The Courier Hub is currently being used by multiple carriers more than 60 times per day in total. The overall potential for the hub is to reduce vehicle kilometres travelled in the CBD by 26,000 and reduce kerbside usage by 4,600 hours.


NSW Government actions to address this goal

Work with industry to improve the efficiency of urban freight

The NSW Government will deliver initiatives to improve the efficiency of urban freight, including by:

  • continuing to operate the Goulburn Street Courier Hub and exploring opportunities to expand its use by logistics providers and businesses
  • working with industry to implement measures to facilitate deliveries outside peak periods
  • supporting initiatives for the trialling of alternative delivery modes for freight delivery in busy urban environments
  • working with developers to highlight the importance and potential of providing good off-street loading dock facilities and possible precinct solutions that enhance the amenity of urban locations
  • encouraging innovative approaches to using space for freight and servicing in the CBD and other key urban centres through concepts such as delivery service plans for individual buildings, precinct delivery models and shared loading docks.

Improve planning for last mile deliveries

The NSW Government will support local councils to improve the amenity of key urban centres through good planning for freight and servicing in new developments. This will include providing guidelines to assist local councils to:

  • understand the impacts of new developments on freight
  • understand best practice in designing delivery vehicle access, parking and loading space, freight and parcel storage, and waste removal facilities
  • promote the inclusion of logistics facilities in mixed use developments
  • investigate ways to improve the management and use of loading zones, including use for overnight delivery and servicing activity
  • identify the potential lifting of delivery curfews in highly congested areas, where noise impacts can be appropriately addressed.


Goal 5: Improve rail freight access and flows

Rail freight offers a fast, reliable and safe alternative to roads. However, there are a number of constraints limiting the volumes of freight that can be moved by rail.

One of the key constraints is the increasing number of passenger rail services competing with rail freight services using the shared rail network. To address this issue, the NSW Government’s long-term priority is to provide greater separation of passenger and freight movement on the rail network to increase freight capacity and improve safety.

Improving the efficiency of the existing network through smaller scale interventions is also critical, particularly in the short to medium term. This includes addressing:

  • network limits on axle weight capacity
  • short distances of track where train speed is reduced
  • inadequate siding lengths and passing loops.

New and improved intermodal terminals can also increase the utilisation of the rail freight network. While government does not have a role in operating intermodal terminals, it can play a role in identifying, protecting and zoning land for intermodal terminals and assisting with necessary road and rail link extensions. 

The Inland Rail project being funded by the Australian Government is likely to increase interstate movement of goods by rail, when it is completed in around 2024/25. Transport for NSW is undertaking analysis of the benefits of Inland Rail to maximise outcomes for NSW.

NSW Government actions to address this goal

Investigate options for improving infrastructure efficiencies

The NSW Government will review the location of short distance permanent speed restrictions on the rail network and investigate the possibility of small scale interventions to achieve a more consistent speed profile and improved travel times.

Work with freight operators and owners to increase rail freight efficiency

The NSW Government will work with rail freight operators to optimise freight train cycle times, with an initial focus on freight moving to trade gateways, to achieve more efficient allocation and use of freight train paths. The NSW Government will also continue to work with network owners and freight train operators to:

  • develop optimal freight paths, including the ongoing development of train schedules and timetables
  • improve on time presentation of freight trains and address root causes of incidents
  • trial higher productivity trains for bulk freight movements to Port Kembla and Newcastle
  • consider introducing targets for increasing rail mode share on other rail corridors (in addition to the Port Botany rail corridor mode share target) where this could increase the productivity of the network and industry shares the required data.

Investigate improvements to rail network booking and operating procedures

The NSW Government will investigate possible ways to improve the ease and speed of booking and operating on the three rail networks in NSW, including improved responsiveness to operator access requests.

Support the delivery of Inland Rail

The NSW Government will support the Australian Government’s delivery of the Inland Rail, and:

  • ensure the project optimises the movement of freight in regional NSW, and to ports and gateways
  • strengthen governance, reporting and performance requirements across the entire NSW ARTC network.


Objective 3: Capacity

Maximising infrastructure investment and increasing infrastructure and land use capacity to accommodate growth

Strategic target for Objective 3

Progress will be measured through the realisation of travel time reductions, reliability improvements and improved safety and environmental outcomes through the delivery of key freight projects and programs and more effective local planning for freight.

Goal 1: Deliver new infrastructure to increase rail freight capacity

The transport of freight via the shared rail network is constrained by the needs of passenger transport, particularly during morning and afternoon passenger peaks. Urban growth in the Southern Highlands, Western Sydney, Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley will exacerbate this issue.

Transport of freight such as grain and coal to Port Kembla, and steel from Port Kembla will also put increasing pressure on the shared Illawarra Rail Line.

NSW Government actions to address this goal

The NSW Government is investigating, or has committed to, a number of infrastructure projects that will focus on improving rail freight capacity in areas where it currently depends on the shared network through segregation of freight and passenger lines.

Committed Initiatives:

  • Upgrades to Main West Line – Upgrade the railway line between Orange and the Blue Mountains for freight and passengers (delivery underway, 0-2 years).
  • Port Botany Rail Line Duplication* – Through Commonwealth funding, duplicate the final 3 kms of Port Botany Rail Line, which will allow freight to be more reliably transported by rail to metropolitan intermodal terminals and from regional intermodal terminals to Port (subject to Final Business Case, 3-5 years).
  • Amplification of the Southern Sydney Freight Line* – Construct a passing loop at Cabramatta to support operations at Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (subject to Final Business Case, 3-5 years).
  • Network improvement projects as part of Fixing Country Rail Round 1: Junee to Griffith Line Upgrade, Narromine to Ulan Upgrade projects, Berry to Bomaderry Rail Line and the OMEGA Tunnels Track Upgrade, Moss Value to Unanderra Line Improvements (Delivery Mount Murray Passing Loop) (delivery underway, 0-2 years).
  • Outer Sydney Orbital – Freight rail line and motorway linking the North West and South West Growth Areas, connecting with the Western Sydney Airport Growth Area and future employment lands (10+ years, corridor identified).

Initiatives for investigation

  • Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Stage 2 – Additional freight capacity between Sydney and the Central Coast (5-10 years).
  • Western Sydney Freight Line – Freight rail connections to serve the Western Sydney Airport Growth Area; connect Port Botany to Western Sydney and Western NSW via the Southern Sydney Freight Line; and support the movement of container and bulk freight by rail across Greater Sydney (10+ years, corridor protection progressing now).
  • Maldon-Dombarton Railway Line – Single track rail line between the Main South Line at Maldon in the Southern Highlands and Dombarton in the Illawarra (10+ years).
  • Lower Hunter Freight Corridor – Freight rail line separating the majority of freight and passenger rail services on the congested area between Fassifern and Newcastle and improving amenity by removing most of the freight trains from within urban area (10+ years, planning progressing now and corridor protection planned).
  • Southern Highlands Freight Capacity – Greater separation of freight and passenger services particularly between Macarthur and Moss Vale, which is one of the busiest sections for rail freight in NSW outside of the Hunter Valley and is expected to support greater passenger services in response to regional population growth (5-10+ years).

*Projects funded by the Australian Government


Goal 2: Deliver new infrastructure to increase road freight capacity and improve safety

Sydney’s Motorway network is already set to become more connected with the WestConnex and NorthConnex projects underway. The NSW Government is investigating the Sydney Gateway Project which will provide additional road infrastructure to enhance the connectivity of WestConnex to the busy road freight precincts of Port Botany and Sydney Airport.

The NSW Government has already delivered significant improvements to the State’s north-south connections that form an important part of the freight network, particularly the Pacific, Hume and Newell Highways.

The NSW Government’s road project investments will focus on improving east-west connectivity, including access across the Great Dividing Range from the agricultural industries in the west to the urban markets and ports in the east. These investments will be complemented by an investigation into other initiatives to improve this crossing. 

The NSW Government also has a vision to deliver a motorway bypassing Greater Sydney, connecting the Central Coast, Western Parkland City and Illawarra.

NSW Government actions to address this goal

Committed Initiatives

  • Sydney Airport Road Upgrades – Upgrade roads around Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport and remove General Holmes Drive level crossing by constructing a road underpass.
  • Moorebank Intermodal Terminal Road Access Program – Construct road infrastructure to support the Moorebank Intermodal terminal, provide an alternative access route and address forecast increases in traffic (subject to Final Business Case and funding).
  • Sydney Gateway – Develop a link between WestConnex at St Peters Interchange and the Sydney Airport and Port Botany precinct, improving freight connectivity between Port Botany and the strategic motorway network (subject to Final Business Case and funding).
  • Pacific Highway Improvements - Complete the Coffs Harbour Bypass project on the Pacific Highway.
  • Easing Sydney’s Congestion – Deliver projects to improve freight flows and increase capacity across the Sydney Metropolitan Network.

Initiatives for Investigation

  • Capacity Upgrade to Foreshore Road at Port Botany and investigation of truck-only lanes in the port precinct (0-10 years).
  • Golden Highway Upgrades – Upgrades to the Golden Highway including lane widening, intersection upgrades, safety improvements, flood immunity works and maintenance (5-10 years, then ongoing).
  • Newell Highway Upgrades – Upgrades to the Newell Highway including safety infrastructure upgrades and capacity improvements and investigation of where PBS 3A vehicle access can be increased in the vacinity of the Newell Highway to support Inland Rail (5-10 years then ongoing).
  • M1, Hexham, Raymond Terrace Upgrades – Upgrade strategic freight routes connections between the New England Highway, M1 Pacific Motorway through to the Pacific Highway at Black Hill and Raymond Terrace (5-10 years).
  • New England Highway Duplication and Upgrade – Duplicate and upgrade safety features on the New England Highway between Muswellbrook and Scone (5-10 years).
  • Appin and Picton Road Improvements – Improvements to Appin and Picton road to support additional freight, public transport and passenger journeys and improve liveability and safety (5-10 years).
  • Bells Line of Road Improvements – Safety and journey time improvements (5-10 years).
  • Great Western Highway Improvements – Capacity enhancements crossing the Blue Mountains, including bypasses of Blackheath and Mount Victoria, duplication of the Great Western Highway from Katoomba to Forty Bends (10+ years).
  • Summerland Way Improvements – Upgrade the Summerland Way, which operates as a key freight link for the timber, cattle farming and meat manufacturing industries, including lane widening, intersection upgrades, safety infrastructure upgrades improvements, flood immunity works and maintenance (10+ years).


Goal 3: Deliver new pipelines to increase capacity

The movement of fuel is currently dominated by road as road distribution is very well-suited to deliveries to the dispersed end users. Pipelines have proven to be very effective in transporting fuel from import terminals to inland depots. New pipeline corridors would reduce distances travelled by road tankers, particularly through some of the most congested parts of the Greater Sydney road network.

The NSW Government is planning major pipeline projects that will support projects such as the Western Sydney Airport, and reduce the need for fuel to be transported by road. To maximise the value of this investment and reduce the need for dangerous goods to be moved by road, options for transporting other bulk liquids could also be considered including new or improved bulk distribution facilities.

The NSW Government has also classified a private sector proposal for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and pipeline from Port Kembla as Critical State Significant Infrastructure. The proposal involves the construction of a new berth at Port Kembla to accommodate LNG carriers, an LNG handling facility, wharf infrastructure and a pipeline to connect to the existing NSW east coast gas transport network nearby.


NSW Government actions to address this goal

Initiatives for investigation


Goal 4: Protect land needed for freight and logistics uses and infrastructure 

The State’s growing freight task needs to be supported by effective long-term planning to:

  • protect existing freight corridors, and industrial and urban services land for freight uses
  • meet future requirements, including the future supply for land for freight uses
  • minimise negative impacts on local communities.

Planning for freight is a shared responsibility between the Greater Sydney Commission, the Department of Planning and Environment, and local councils. Transport for NSW also has a key role to play in identifying and protecting key freight corridors and building transport infrastructure.

Reforms to the planning system and development of Region and District Plans by the Department of Planning and Environment and the Greater Sydney Commission provide an opportunity for councils to consistently consider freight in the next major phase of planning at a local level.

In some areas, such as around Port Botany and Sydney Airport, demand for land for residential housing and other commercial uses has seen tracts of freight and logistics land converted into mixed-use residential/commercial zones. This has resulted in:

  • a reduction in the amount of freight and logistics land available in these areas
  • increased prices for the remaining freight and logistics land
  • greater congestion
  • the need for goods to be transported longer distances to warehouses relocating to Western Sydney.

For these reasons, it is critical to protect the remaining lands that are zoned for industrial use to ensure the efficiency of increasing freight activities.

The retention of Glebe Island and White Bay as a working port is critical, as it provides opportunities for increased use of coastal shipping to transport freight closer to the demand source, thereby reducing road congestion. The Port Authority of NSW is facilitating the construction and operation of a multi-user facility that will further support coastal shipping opportunities into Glebe Island.

In the Central City District, population is forecast to grow by 56 per cent by 2036, the highest growth of all Greater Sydney Districts. This will drive strong growth in the movement of freight such as consumer goods and construction materials. Significant freight volumes also move through the District on key routes such as the M7, M4 and the Main West Line. It also contains a number of Greater Sydney’s key freight precincts including warehouses and intermodal terminals at Rooty Hill, Huntingwood, Minchinbury and Yennora. Clyde Intermodal Precinct facilitate the movement of waste and cement to support Sydney’s population. Urban services and industrial lands at Silverwater, Clyde, Camellia and Rydalmere require effective freight routes for the transport of construction materials, liquid fuels and waste. The significance of these sites needs to be well understood to enable their efficient operation.

In other areas, there is an opportunity to reserve appropriate land for the growing freight task to support economic growth and employment. For example, supported by good planning, the Western Sydney Airport and Western Sydney Employment Area can become a nationally significant freight and logistics hub, with connections to national and regional transport networks.

Planning for freight should also ensure that protections are in place for local communities. Such protections are set out in various documents including:

Local planning for freight

Freight and logistics businesses need land that has good connections to key transport routes, ports, pipelines, airports and intermodal terminals - not just land that is zoned as ‘industrial land’. It is also critical that freight and logistics land, and key corridors, are planned to avoid potential conflict with land uses that are incompatible with freight operations, some of which need to operate 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

Effective local planning for freight requires an understanding of a range of factors including:

  • the future freight task (including trends in trade, consumer demand and logistics activities), operational and land size requirements
  • transport corridors and freight precincts
  • the needs of other adjacent land users.

Councils will need to plan for freight and logistics land in their local strategic planning statements and local environment plans by:

  • identifying existing freight corridors and networks and significant freight land uses
  • considering future freight requirements, including new land uses, expansion or increased intensity of existing corridor and land uses and ensuring efficient connections
  • balancing the needs of the freight industry and their customers with local communities by ensuring non-freight land uses are designed and constructed with appropriate mitigation measures to deal with issues such as noise and traffic impacts, including buffer zones.

Local councils are required to give effect to Regional Plans in their area in their local strategic planning statements, which in turn inform their local environment plans. The identification of freight requirements in District and Regional Plans prepared by the Greater Sydney Commission and the Department of Planning and Environment, informed by information provided by Transport for NSW, will provide guidance for local council planning.


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Ensuring planning for freight protects land needed for freight and logistics

The NSW Government will ensure that freight and logistics land and corridors are identified and protected from sensitive land uses, including land around important trade gateways such as Port Botany, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Airport, the Western Sydney Airport and Newcastle Port. For example, by developing and updating where necessary:

  • Regional and District Plans (including the Eastern City and Central City District Plans) which recognise the importance of existing industrial and urban services lands to support well-planned growth for greater productivity and liveability 
  • the Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan for Western Sydney Airport Growth Area
  • the masterplan for the Bays Precinct
  • The Central West to Newcastle/Sydney/Wollongong corridor study (a joint-government agency review focussing on all modes of transport connecting the Central West and the Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong and taking into account Inland Rail and Western Sydney Airport.)

Assist local councils to plan for freight needs

The NSW Government will ensure local councils plan for current and future freight and logistics requirements in their LGA and reflect priorities in their local strategic planning statements, including by providing assistance:

  • identifying current and future freight and logistics requirements (TfNSW)
  • promote, guide and inform appropriate local responses to freight and logistics planning issues in local strategic planning statements, local environmental plans and development control plans, developed in response to issues and priorities as set out in this Plan or other government plans.

Plan for bulk waste and recycling intermodal terminal

The NSW Government will identify, protect and reserve land for an intermodal terminal to handle bulk waste and recycling materials originating in Sydney, as landfill sites reach capacity.

Ensure planning accommodates the growth of the freight task and protects community amenity

The NSW Government will:

  • review and update State planning policies to address issues around freight and port noise, including issues related to residential and sensitive use development near these activities
  • investigate options to amend the State Environmental Planning Policy (Three Ports) 2013 to protect land around the ports, particularly land for port-related uses near Port Botany
  • review and update the Development Near Rail Corridors and Busy Roads – Interim Guideline to ensure it reflects the latest evidence and practices, and investigate the need for similar guidance for ports and intermodal terminals.

Encourage coastal shipping through planning and other initiatives

The NSW Government will encourage coastal shipping by:

  • appropriate planning to support the continued operation of the port at Glebe Island and White Bay
  • investigating impediments to its use by industry.


Objective 4: Safety

Creating a safe freight supply chain, involving safe networks, safe transport, safe speeds and safe people

Strategic target for Objective 4

Progress against this objective will be measured against the target to reduce fatalities and serious injuries from crashes involving a heavy vehicle or light truck by 30 per cent by 2021 (compared to average annual fatalities over 2008-2010)

Goal 1: Safer networks, transport, speeds and people

The role of heavy vehicles in moving freight across NSW is substantial with the majority of all interstate freight being transported by road. Light vehicles are also important for the transport of goods over shorter distances.

Although the number of fatalities and serious injuries arising from crashes involving all types of vehicles has declined since 2009, there has been:

  • an increase in fatalities and serious injuries from crashes involving light trucks since 2013/14
  • an increase in fatalities from crashes involving heavy vehicles since 2017.

While crash data does not include any conclusions as to fault, it does record the ‘key vehicle’ whose movement appears to have largely contributed to the crash occurring. Heavy trucks were the ‘key vehicle’ in 39 per cent of fatal crashes in 2015 to 2017 and 59 per cent of serious injury crashes from 2014/15 to 2016/17.

The NSW Government’s Road Safety Plan 2021 aims to reduce road fatalities and serious injuries by 30 per cent by 2021 (compared to average annual fatalities over 2008-2010) and has a vision of achieving zero trauma on the transport system by 2056. The NSW Government is committed to the same targets for fatalities and serious injuries from crashes involving a heavy vehicle or light truck.

The National Transport Commission has recently recommended legislative reform to the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) and use of electronic work diaries. The NSW Government is supportive of this proposal and is also interested in technology solutions that can be rapidly implemented to improve safety.

Chain of responsibility legislation places obligations for managing safety on all parties in supply chains. This has been successful in broadening awareness of safety in the freight industry. Further legislative reforms will be needed to continue to move towards an outcomes-based, safe systems approach rather than prescriptive rules focused on individual parties.

In addition to actions outlined in this Plan, the NSW Government will take further actions arising from the ‘Staysafe Inquiry’ – a Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety requested by the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. This inquiry was initiated by the Minister in response to the increasing road toll involving heavy vehicles and emerging opportunities for technology to improve safety.

Road infrastructure improvements will also be an important aspect of improving safety. Safety barriers can reduce key crash types on country roads by up to 85 per cent, and are especially important on our main transport corridors.

The NSW Government will also continue to work with the Australian Government and industry to ensure the safety of sea, air and rail freight. Particular areas of focus of the NSW Government over the next 5 years will be:


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Develop a new heavy vehicle safety strategy

The NSW Government will develop a new heavy vehicle safety strategy, which will include initiatives to improve operational safety and increase the uptake of safety technologies. This will be informed by the priorities in the Road Safety Plan 2021, recommendations from the Stay Safe Inquiry and consultation with industry. Advocate for an outcomes based approach to managing heavy vehicle safety

The NSW Government will advocate for the adoption of a safety duties approach to heavy vehicle regulation in the Heavy Vehicle National Regulation and in consideration of any regulatory proposals such as accreditation for transport companies.

Develop a rest stop framework

The NSW Government will develop a rest stop framework to assist future decision making around the planning, provision and management of rest stops, including for dangerous goods trucks travelling within Sydney to Port Botany.

Trial a new approach to telematics

The NSW Government will trial a new approach to telematics using an innovative co-design approach with industry and other stakeholders.

Enhance law enforcement

The NSW Government will deliver actions to improve enforcement that are outlined in the NSW Road Safety Plan 2021, including:

  • expanding the heavy vehicle average speed camera program to metropolitan areas to address risks associated with greater truck movements
  • developing a new NSW Police enforcement strategy that will maximise the benefit of enforcement, reduce deaths on country roads and serious injuries in urban areas
  • continuing to make safety technology information available to industry
  • assessing targeted use of weighbridges to improve mass compliance for heavy vehicles accessing land fill sites, quarries and other similar locations.

Improve safety on country roads

The NSW Government will deliver a new Saving Lives on Country Roads program, involving $640 million over five years. This will deliver safety upgrades on country roads, including flexible barriers to separate oncoming traffic and protect vehicles from roadside hazards. The total investment in reducing deaths and serious injuries on NSW roads over the next five years is $1.9 billion.



Objective 5: Sustainability

Developing a sustainable supply chain that delivers benefits to our environment and continued operations into the future

Strategic target for Objective 5

Progress against this target will be measured against net reductions in freight emissions and noise.

Goal 1: Support initiatives to reduce freight emissions

The transport sector in Australia accounts for around 17 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2012/13 road transport accounted for around 85 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions arising from transport within NSW. Domestic air and sea transport contributed less than 10 per cent. Around 60 per cent of road transport greenhouse gas emissions came from passenger vehicles, while the remaining 40 per cent came equally from light commercial vehicles and articulated and rigid trucks.

The split between domestic transport within NSW and international transport to and from NSW was just under 40 per cent domestic transport and the remainder from international shipping and aviation in roughly equal amounts. 

Freight also has impacts on air quality. When compared to passenger vehicles, heavy duty and light duty diesel vehicles contribute disproportionally to particle and nitrogen oxide emissions. This is due partly to the large amount of fuel they consume and also the age of many freight vehicles - older diesel light commercial vehicles and rigid trucks are high emitters of fine particles.

While road vehicles are subject to national emission standards, locomotives are not. Such standards apply in many countries around the world and clean technologies are available.

While the adoption of lower emissions vehicles and fuels will largely be led by industry, the NSW Government will encourage improved environmental performance of vehicles through a number of policies and programs. This includes initiatives aimed at reducing congestion and encouraging re-timing of deliveries (See Objective 2, Goal 4: Manage freight in key urban centres).


Industry leadership in sustainability

Sections of the freight industry are demonstrating strong leadership in relation to sustainability. They recognise that demonstrating a commitment to sustainability has significance beyond its environmental benefits – it also shows their commitment to corporate social responsibility.

Ports have traditionally been leaders in this area, particularly in parts of Europe. Recognising the long-standing role that established ports often have in towns and cities, and the ‘social licence’ they operate under, many have implemented sustainability frameworks to actively manage the impacts they have on the environment and the community.

Within NSW, a number of freight-related companies are taking a proactive approach to reducing emissions. Notable examples include:

  • Dubbo-based bulk haulage operator Transforce committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its road transport operations and was the first certified carbon neutral road transport company in Australia.
  • NSW Ports recently announced the introduction of an environmental incentive scheme to reward higher standards of environmental performance for ships visiting Port Kembla and Port Botany that perform better than the levels required by current emissions standards, for commencement 1 January 2019.

The NSW Government will support industry-led sustainability initiatives including trials and the development and application of industry standards.


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Develop electric vehicle strategy

The NSW Government will develop a whole-of-government electric vehicles strategy to prepare for and support the transition to electric vehicles.

Advocate for stronger national vehicle emission standards

The NSW Government will support the strengthening of national vehicle emission standards for both heavy and light vehicles, and for a national approach to managing diesel emissions from non-road diesel equipment, under the National Clean Air Agreement.

Investigate emissions controls for diesel locomotives

The NSW Government will investigate the adoption of emissions limits for diesel locomotives in collaboration with industry.


Goal 2: Manage the noise impacts of freight

Industry and government have a responsibility to minimise noise impacts on communities from road, rail, port and air freight. This can be achieved through the following hierarchy of actions:

  • land-use planning policies to avoid new residential developments being built too close to freight activity
  • planning controls to ensure developments are designed to minimise noise impacts
  • applying noise policies and guidelines to assess and mitigate noise impacts from new and redeveloped freight infrastructure
  • managing noise from activities undertaken on freight and ports infrastructure, through initiatives such as adoption of new technologies (including electric vehicles) or performance requirements
  • programs to manage residual noise impacts such as the Freight Noise Attenuation Program
  • providing homebuyers with sufficient information about freight operations when they are considering purchasing a property.


NSW Government actions to support this goal

Work with industry to reduce noise impacts of rail freight

The NSW Government will continue to work with industry and regulators, to deliver value-for-money rolling stock-based solutions to reduce noise from locomotives and wheel squeal.

Investigate environmental performance accountability improvements

The NSW Government will consider options to improve accountability for environmental performance in the freight industry, such as reforms to EPA licencing arrangements or industry standards.

Support electric vehicles in high density areas

The NSW Government will support the use of electric vehicles for deliveries in built-up areas to reduce the noise and emissions impact of freight.

Further research into noise impacts

The NSW Government will conduct further research into noise impacts of freight operations and effectiveness of mitigation measures to inform future initiatives.