Using Australia's Blue Highway

Australia's Blue Highway is our seaways surrounding the country connecting cities and towns nationwide to each other and the world.

Australia is an island nation with over 80 per cent of our population living within 50km of the coast. We have around 80 ports operating at the centre of these towns and cities. Yet we use the blue highway to move less than 15 per cent of our domestic freight moving the rest by road and rail.

Why is this a problem?

  • Our population is growing rapidly and the amount of goods we are bringing into the country (freight task) is growing at an even faster rate.
  • Australia’s domestic freight task between 1990-00 and 2015-16 grew by around 50% (NTC, 2016).   In that time coastal shipping’s contribution grew by 1%; rail’s by 210%; and road’s by 61%.
  • Freight is expected to continue to grow strongly – 26% over the decade to 2026 (Deloitte Access Economics, 2017).
  • The cost of existing urban transport congestion in Australia’s capital cities is forecast to increase from approximately $13.7 billion to $53.3 billion by 2031 unless significant infrastructure investment and planning is undertaken.

A straightforward way to manage Australia's future freight task is to ensure that we are optimising our available freight networks.

Approaching freight projects with mode neutrality. Ensuring targeted allocation of these networks to move freight efficiently and effectively could result in a range of benefits, such as improved productivity, improved end-costs, reduced congestion and environmental benefits.

Benefits of the Blue Highway

The Blue Highway through Australia’s 80 Ports connects regional Australia and cities via Australia’s 80 Ports cheaply, efficiently, with less emissions and without causing congestion on our roads and rail.
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Ports Australia releases Coastal Shipping Factsheet

Ports Australia has released its Coastal Shipping Factsheet, an analysis paper on the current state of coastal shipping around Australia and its potential for the future of our supply chain.

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