Evaluation of Freight Corridor Mode Performance: Brisbane - Cairns Corridor Freight Movement Analysis

Bunker, Jonathan M. (2001) Evaluation of Freight Corridor Mode Performance: Brisbane - Cairns Corridor Freight Movement Analysis. Queensland University of Technology.


This report provides an analysis of freight movements on the Brisbane - Cairns corridor as an activity within the project Evaluation of Freight Corridor Mode Performance. It follows on from the lead activity which produced the document Evaluation of Freight Corridor Mode Performance: A Literature Review (Bunker, 2001).

The project hypothesis is that the transport planning and freight transport decision making processes could be more well informed by developing a model that represents in detail the process of mode selection for corridor freight movements, using key performance indicators. The overall aim is to develop a framework for such a model and is to include a freight corridor in Queensland as a case study. The corridor that was selected is Brisbane - Cairns.

The purposes of this analysis of freight movements on the Brisbane - Cairns corridor are to become familiar with the attributes of the corridor, and to gain an understanding of how each freight mode is currently being used in the line haul freight task along the corridor. This will provide a basis for investigating the nature and values of specific freight mode choice determinants and performance indicators for this corridor developed earlier in the study, through consultation with the parties involved in the decision making process.

This examination of freight flows on the Brisbane - Cairns corridor has demonstrated that Brisbane is the focus of freight movements along the corridor. In the northbound direction, this is attributed to regional areas' reliance on Brisbane for the supply of goods. In the southbound direction, Brisbane, although less pronounced, is also the principle destination for freight originating in the regional areas. The directional split is even south of Bundaberg, while the northbound split is dominant on links further north, suggesting a strong reliance by northern centres for inwards goods movement from Brisbane.

The northbound task is well spread amongst road, rail and sea along the length of the corridor. Road is on most links the dominant mode in the southbound direction. A substantial empty backhaul exists in the southbound direction across all modes, except for road south of Bundaberg.

It is evident from the data that in the northbound direction, sea dominates, but is generally restricted to the bulk freight task, which is primarily petroleum distribution from Brisbane refineries to regional areas. In the southbound direction, sea carries very little intra-state freight, aside from the bulk movement of bauxite between Weipa and Gladstone for refining, but dominates the movement of bulk freight (primary produce) to the southern states.

Air is restricted in both directions to a very small volume of freight, which is expected to be high value, rapid transit freight.

The balance of the corridor freight task in both directions is distributed between road and rail. It is apparent from the data that on an overall corridor basis there is strong competition between these modes in moving all freight types, including bulk, non-bulk containerable and non-bulk non-containerable. Road generally carries more freight than rail, although the task is relatively even in both directions between Rockhampton and Townsville. On a distance basis, the mode share to road decreases marginally with distance while that to rail increases marginally. However, road is still dominant even on the longest distance movements between Brisbane and Cairns.

Closer examination of the data suggests that for bulk freight and non-bulk non-containerable freight, on a movement by movement basis, one mode is likely to tend to dominate, due to a natural advantage for that particular movement. This may be termed the "right mode for the task" effect, which is associated with parameters of the individual task. However, it is difficult to ascertain the reasons for mode selection in the non-bulk containerable freight segment.

With the modal competition evident, this freight corridor has diverse attributes that enable a useful investigation into the customer service provider/mode selection process for individual freight tasks. This will provide further insight into the modal distribution evident on the corridor.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

935 since deposited on 22 May 2007
16 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 7817
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: freight, transport planning, transport evaluation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Transport Engineering (090507)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Deposited On: 22 May 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:41

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page