The Port Kembla Port Corporation and SMART Infrastructure Facility recently announced a new research project to model Port Kembla's rail capacity.
The research project will examine the supply chain of bulk products?such as steel, grain and coal - to the port of Port Kembla, including how the existing rail network can support a possible future expansion of the port. The project will also identify potential bottlenecks in the entire coal exporting chain from mine pit to Port Kembla.
The research project will be conducted by the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong together with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
SMART Director and Chief Executive Officer, Garry Bowditch, said the research will focus on issues such as future demand on train lines, passenger and freight trains sharing the same tracks, and the interconnection of the Illawarra and Sydney rail networks.
Port Kembla is a key coal exporting facility which services two of Australia's richest coal reserves, the Southern and Western coalfields of NSW. Last year $13 billion in trade passed through the port, supporting close to 4,000 jobs.
"The research project will make it possible for the Port Kembla Port Corporation to analyse and decide on possible infrastructure upgrades and expansions, and allow for a more efficient management of port facilities," Mr Bowditch said.
"The model will enable decision makers to ask different 'what if questions' to test various scenarios. For instance, what will the rail capacity be if the trains were longer or there were dedicated freight lines or increased ship handling capability?" Mr Bowditch said.
The project is scheduled to be completed in June 2011.
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