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Freight strategy draft released

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The Federal Government today released a draft National Land Freight Strategy to address cargo bottlenecks that affected profits during the resources boom. Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the plan would lower the cost of moving consumer goods and recoup billions of dollars of lost export earnings from the last boom. "This leads to a more efficient, seamless national economy with lower costs for producers, resulting in benefit for consumers and the economy." The plan will make dedicated freight rail lines available to avoid interference with urban commuter lines. Currently, freight lines are limited by curfews where they tangle with commuter lines and interfere with passenger travel. The strategy could also see triple-trailer trucks allowed on more roads, including the Hume, Pacific and Bruce Highways. At present, B-triple trucks are restricted to rural and regional areas. In addition, inland ports-where goods are transferred from trucks to trains-will be expanded. Dedicated freight roads would be constructed to connect these expanded ports to sea ports. The strategy has been developed in response to projections suggesting freight movements will more than double in the next 20 years. Truck traffic is expected to increase by half, rail freight by 90 percent, airfreight by almost 110 percent and containers crossing sea ports by 150 percent. The draft national freight strategy was developed by the National Transport Commission and Infrastructure Australia. If implemented, it would rely on financial support from state goverments.

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