Australia’s largest rail freight operator, Pacific National, has committed an initial $35 million to commence development of the company’s Parkes Logistics Terminal.

Inspecting the future terminal site in Parkes today, Pacific National CEO Dean Dalla Valle said it was one of the largest private sector investments in freight infrastructure in regional Australia.

“Parkes sits at the epicentre of Australia’s rail freight network, and Pacific National is delighted with our $35 million commitment to start developing the Parkes Logistics Terminal,” said Mr Dalla Valle.

“Located at the intersection of the main western railway line running from Sydney to Perth, the future Inland Rail corridor from Melbourne to Brisbane, and the Newell Highway, Parkes is the perfect place to establish a major intermodal freight terminal,” said Mr Dalla Valle.

Once fully operational, Pacific National’s Parkes Logistics Terminal will have the capacity to process approximately 450,000 cargo containers each year, including the ability to haul double-stacked containers from Parkes to Perth.

Pacific National’s initial $35 million investment includes $18 million to start developing the terminal site and $17 million to acquire ‘rolling stock’ like freight wagons.

Construction of Parkes Logistics Terminal will generate 50 full time jobs, while the future terminal will provide up to 20 new skilled jobs including train drivers and terminal crew.

Mr Dalla Valle said Pacific National is committed to working closely with federal, state and local governments to enhance the efficiency of moving goods and commodities by rail across Australia.

“Moving freight by rail is safer, more efficient and better for the environment – it also helps to provide secure, long term jobs; particularly in regional towns like Parkes,” said Mr Dalla Valle.

Parkes Mayor Councillor Ken Keith OAM thanked Mr Dalla Valle for visiting Parkes to announce Pacific National’s commitment to start developing the future freight terminal.

“This is a very exciting day for our community, as Pacific National’s $35 million investment to kick-start development of a key freight terminal complements our broader vision to create a Parkes National Logistics Hub,” said Mayor Keith.

Mayor Keith said the first section of Inland Rail to be constructed will be from Parkes to Narromine, and it is wonderful to see the initial $300 million investment, part of the Australian Government’s $8.4 billion commitment, has triggered private sector investment in Parkes by the nation’s largest rail freight operator.

“Our vision for the Parkes National Logistics Hub is now coming to fruition,” said Mayor Keith.

Pending local, state and federal planning approvals, construction of Pacific National’s Parkes Logistics Terminal is scheduled to commence by mid-2018, with the first trains hauling freight at the terminal in early 2019. Total future investment in the terminal and associated equipment and rolling stock is expected to be more than $60 million.