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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Transport >> Domestic freight activity

Movement of freight within Australia is a significant part of the transport task. Goods are transported across vast distances because of the size of the country and the dispersed locations of its agricultural, mining, production and population centres. Key measures used to capture the freight transport task are tonnes carried and tonne-kilometres, which represents mass moved by distance.

In the 12 months ended 31 March 2001, the transport network in Australia, comprising the modes of road (articulated vehicles only), rail, sea and air, accounted for an estimated 320,108 million tonne-kilometres and handled 1,171 million tonnes of freight. The following sections provide further information on the domestic freight task for each of these modes.

Road freight activity

Articulated trucks are responsible for the largest percentage (approximately three-quarters) of the freight transport task performed by road. In the 12 months ended 31 March 2001, articulated vehicles in Australia lifted an estimated 614 million tonnes of freight (table 23.6), equating to over 88 billion tonne-kilometres travelled. Freight originating in New South Wales accounted for 29.9% of both the total tonne-kilometres travelled (26,440 million) and the total tonnes carried by road (184 million).


23.6 ROAD FREIGHT(a) - Year ended 31 March 2001

Travelled
Carried
State/territory of origin
million tonne-kilometres(b)
million tonnes

New South Wales
26,440
184
Victoria
18,746
121
Queensland
19,174
127
South Australia
9,286
46
Western Australia
11,281
105
Tasmania
1,504
21
Northern Territory
1,728
8
Australian Capital Territory
216
1
Australia
88,374
614

(a) Articulated vehicles only.
(b) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


Table 23.7 provides details of the major commodities moved by road in the 12 months to 31 March 2001. Food accounted for 21.9% of the tonne-kilometres travelled and 14.4% (89 million) of the tonnes carried by road. The second highest percentage (14%) of tonnes carried by road was for stone, sand and gravel, yet because of shorter trip distances this commodity only accounted for 3.8% (3,373 million) of the total tonne-kilometres travelled.


23.7 MAJOR COMMODITIES MOVED BY ROAD(a) - Year ended 31 March 2001

Tonne-kilometres(b)
Tonnes


million
% of total
million
% of total

Food (for human and animal consumption)
19,326
21.9
89
14.4
General freight(c)
15,408
17.4
46
7.5
Other manufactured goods
7,276
8.2
38
6.2
Petroleum and petroleum products
4,807
5.4
30
4.8
Machinery and transport equipment
4,207
4.8
22
3.5
Cork and wood
4,093
4.6
35
5.8
Cereal grains
4,031
4.6
42
6.9
Crude materials
3,895
4.4
35
5.7
Stone, sand and gravel
3,373
3.8
86
14.0

(a) Articulated vehicles only.
(b) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.
(c) Consignments not classified by commodity.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


Rail freight activity

An estimated 134,109 million tonne-kilometres, representing 509 million tonnes of freight, were moved on the rail network in the 12 months ended 31 March 2001 (table 23.8). Freight originating in Western Australia and Queensland combined accounted for over three-quarters (76.7%) of the total tonne-kilometres travelled by rail. This was primarily due to the large movements of commodities over longer trip distances in these geographically larger states.


23.8 RAIL FREIGHT(a) - Year ended 31 March 2001

State/territory of origin
million tonne-kilometres(b)
million tonnes

New South Wales
19,621
112
Victoria
6,188
10
Queensland
42,458
172
South Australia
5,176
19
Western Australia
60,429
196
Tasmania
n.a.
n.a.
Northern Territory
234
-
Australian Capital Territory
3
-
Australia
134,109
509

(a) Excludes rail freight movements in Tas. due to confidentiality.
(b) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


Of the total tonne-kilometres travelled by rail, nearly three-quarters (74.5% or 99,868 million) were for metalliferous ores and metal scrap, and coal (table 23.9). General freight, while accounting for only 2.9% (15 million) of the total tonnes carried on the rail network, represented 11.9% (16,018 million) of the tonne-kilometres travelled by this mode, indicating longer trip distances than those travelled by some other commodity types.


23.9 MAJOR COMMODITIES MOVED BY RAIL(a) - Year ended 31 March 2001

Tonne-kilometres(b)
Tonnes


million
% of total
million
% of total

Metalliferous ores and metal scrap
55,615
41.5
197
38.6
Coal
44,254
33.0
221
43.6
General freight(c)
16,018
11.9
15
2.9
Cereal grains
5,787
4.3
19
3.7
Iron and steel
3,993
3.0
6
1.2
Crude materials
2,334
1.7
33
6.4

(a) Excludes rail freight movements in Tas. due to confidentiality.
(b) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.
(c) Consignments not classified by commodity.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


Sea freight activity

In the 12 months ended 31 March 2001, the sea network carried 47 million tonnes (table 23.10). This tonnage was moved over 97,349 million tonne-kilometres, or 30.4% of tonne-kilometres travelled by all modes combined in Australia. Due to the long average hauls for domestic shipping, sea freight accounted for a much higher proportion of total tonne-kilometres travelled than of total tonnage moved.

23.10 SEA FREIGHT - Year ended 31 March 2001

State/territory of origin
million tonne-kilometres(a)
million tonnes

New South Wales
6,808
5
Victoria
8,342
7
Queensland
31,736
16
South Australia
10,184
7
Western Australia
33,691
7
Tasmania
4,283
5
Northern Territory
2,307
1
Australian Capital Territory
-
-
Australia
97,349
47

(a) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


Metalliferous ores and metal scrap accounted for the highest percentages of tonnes carried (42.5%) and tonne-kilometres travelled (62.8%) by sea in the 12 months ended 31 March 2001 (table 23.11). Nearly three-quarters (74.1%) of all tonne-kilometres travelled for petroleum and petroleum products by all modes was by sea.


23.11 MAJOR COMMODITIES MOVED BY SEA - Year ended 31 March 2001

Tonne-kilometres(a)
Tonnes
Commodity
million
% of total
million
% of total

Metalliferous ores and metal scrap
61,118
62.8
20
42.5
Petroleum and petroleum products
16,159
16.6
11
22.9
Crude materials
4,272
4.4
4
8.0
Cement
3,131
3.2
3
5.5
Coal
3,013
3.1
3
5.3
Iron and steel
1,929
2.0
2
3.5
Food (for human and animal consumption)
1,923
2.0
1
2.8

(a) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


Air freight activity

Air accounted for less than 1% of the total domestic freight task in the year ended 31 March 2001. Freight originating in New South Wales and Victoria combined accounted for over half (53.5%) of all tonne-kilometres travelled on the air network (table 23.12).


23.12 AIR FREIGHT - Year ended 31 March 2001

State/territory of origin
million tonne-kilometres(a)
million tonnes

New South Wales
74
0.1
Victoria
74
0.1
Queensland
48
-
South Australia
14
-
Western Australia
46
-
Tasmania
9
-
Northern Territory
10
Australian Capital Territory
2
-
Australia
276
0.2

(a) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31 March 2001 (9220.0).


The two major commodities moved by air were general freight, at 166 million tonne-kilometres (60.1% of the total) and other commodities n.e.s. at 66 million tonne-kilometres (23.8% of the total) (table 23.13).


23.13 MAJOR COMMODITIES MOVED BY AIR - Year ended 31 March 2001

million tonne-kilometres(a)
% of total

General freight(b)
166
60.1
Other commodities n.e.s.(c)
66
23.8
Food (for human and animal consumption)
32
11.7
Miscellaneous manufactured articles(d)
12
4.4

(a) Total tonne-kilometres are the total tonnes carried multiplied by the distance travelled in kilometres.
(b) Consignments not classified by commodity.
(c) All other commodities not elsewhere specified (n.e.s.) including empty used containers, personal effects and furniture not for sale.
(d) Manufactured goods for final consumption and/or made of more than one material.

Source: Freight Movements, Australia, Summary, year ended 31March 2001 (9220.0).


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