How 'Inland port' near Emerald will boost Gladstone exports
THE first step towards the construction of a massive "inland port" near Emerald was taken yesterday, with State Development Minister Cameron Dick announcing funding for a $9.5 million rail and road upgrade.
When complete, the Central Queensland Inland Port promises to boost exports out of Gladstone by acting as a docking point for the region's rail and road supply chain, giving broadacre farmers access to a direct rail line through to the Port of Gladstone.
The "port" will function much like its seaside counterparts, allowing goods to be handled in bulk and containerised, while also offering warehousing, quarantine, cold storage, repairs and container cleaning and inspection.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher said GrainCorp planned to move its grain facilities from Emerald to the proposed project, located in the Yamala Enterprise Area about 25km from the town's boundary.
He said the company intended to build a $20 million state-of-the-art facility as the anchor operator for the port.
"Safer and more efficient grain handling and transport, and the port's 24-hour, seven-day link to the Port of Gladstone is set to reduce costs and lead to increased exports," Mr Butcher said.
Central Queensland Inland Port managing director Alan Stent-Smith said he was excited to be present at the sod turning for the road and rail upgrades, after more than five years of planning the facility.
"Projects of this scale and complexity don't happen overnight," Mr Stent-Smith said.
The State Government has contributed $4.4 million to the road and rail upgrade as part of the Building Our Regions program, with the remainder contributed by industry ($4.41 million) and Central Highlands Regional Council ($695,000).
The Federal Government also allocated up to $2.9 million in funding to the project in March.
The Building Our Regions program has allocated $225 million to 174 critical infrastructure projects over its lifespan, with 26 of those projects in Central Queensland receiving a combined $40.4 million.
A further six projects in the region have been shortlisted for funding in the next round.