EXPRESSIONS of interest have been called for to carry out an analysis of the freight and logistics capability of the Orana district in a bid to drive productivity in the region.
Regional Development Australia (Orana) CEO Felicity Taylor-Edwards said Orana's current strategic freight and logistics linkages, including multiple highways, rail to Newcastle and inland air and rail services were significant.
"With an Australian Logistics Council study showing that a 1 per cent improvement in productivity in the logistics industry would boost gross domestic product (GDP) by $2 billion, it is critical that logistics projects that demonstrate improved supply chain efficiency receive equal consideration to other infrastructure projects," she said.
Australia's freight task was forecast to increase significantly in coming decades, Ms Taylor-Edwards said, with the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) predicting it would almost double between 2010 and 2030.
She said industry and government at all levels had to recognise the need for improvements and investment in regional infrastructure, especially freight and logistics requirements.
"The economic viability and prosperity of the region provides the impetus for RDA Orana to have a comprehensive feasibility study on all types of freight transfers and the logistics involved in handling freight both to and from the region," she said.
Ms Taylor-Edwards said the study would complement an Air Freight study, for which tenders would close on March 14.
"A report of this nature will potentially reduce duplication of studies and ad hoc requests for funding; integrate them into a regional perspective; maintain stability to industry, communities and the region; increase regional investment and enhance regional productivity," she said.
The document would be used to help shape policy and attract funds for investment and bring about improved efficiency, according to Ms Taylor-Edwards.