The viability of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle is dependent on the efficient, reliable, socially acceptable and most importantly cost-effective transport of goods to and from regional areas of NSW. A key focus of the study was an assessment of the cost of container transport from origins within the North West and West of NSW, which were considered to be within the contestable catchment of the Newcastle Port.
During the assessment, the study team developed bottom-up cost models for the transport of containers by rail from the major centres within the catchment using modelled costs for operations and maintenance which incorporate labour and fuel costs. The cost models incorporated capital amortised costs for the various modes as well as below rail access charges.
The study concluded that the cost of transport by rail from the Catchment nodes is more cost-effective to the Port of Newcastle for the vast majority of road and rail costs investigated.
Transport costs to the Port of Newcastle from all regional nodes within the Catchment assessed were less than transport costs to Port Botany, Port Kembla and/or Brisbane, however, the cost of transport from areas such as Parkes was not as competitive compared to transport costs to Botany when using similar sized trains.
These cost estimates developed during the study incorporate rail operational costs, access charges and include allowances for terminal train handling. Terminal handling costs were not included in the analysis.