A war of words has broken out over truck access to and from  the new Sydney Gateway road and the WestConnex motorway and Australia’s largest container terminal.

A number of freight and logistics industry organisations have taken up the fight to try to have access ramps to an from the terminal into the Gateway motorway put back in place.

The organisations which include the Australian Logistics Council, Australian Trucking Association, Container Transport Alliance Australia, Freight & Trade Alliance, Road Freight NSW and Shipping Australia Limited are asking that the ramps, which were on the original plans, but which have been since scrubbed, be put back in place to cater for for heavy trucks at Canal Road in St Peters.

The group of logistics organisations say that are necessary for  the road project to “deliver the promised safety and efficiency benefits for the freight industry and for the local community”.

They say that the  decision will cause even greater congestion around Mascot and will produce negative safety outcomes for the industry and for local residents and commuters in what is a fast-growing residential community.

They believe that the withdrawal of the ramps pose a risk to local residents and road users, and totally undermines efforts to reduce road congestion around Port Botany  and the Sydney Airport.

“When Gateway was first proposed RMS proposed and designed ramps directly from the Gateway to service the the Cooks River Intermodal Terminal,”  said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.

“This was sensible because the ramps at Canal Road would remove at least 1,600 truck movements a day from local roads,” he added.

“This would improve road safety, reduce congestion and enhance community amenity around Mascot, where the residential population has grown exponentially over recent years due to high-density apartment developments.

“However, RMS subsequently decided to remove these ramps from the Gateway design, citing cost concerns.

“We believe this is short-sighted and significantly diminishes the potential freight benefits of the Gateway project by contributing to gridlock on local roads in attempting to service NSW’s key international container port.

“At the same time, it will isolate Australia’s largest empty container park from this new major port road artery, and will condemn local Mascot residents to ongoing truck noise, safety and emission issues.

“If Sydney Gateway is to fully deliver its intended benefits of reducing road congestion in and around Port Botany and Sydney Airport, it is essential that the heavy vehicle access ramps at Canal Road be reinstated to the design prior to the commencement of construction.

“We call on RMS and the NSW Government to work cooperatively and expeditiously with industry to resolve this issue, and ensure Sydney Gateway fully delivers on its promise of reduced congestion, better road safety and enhanced productivity, for freight operators and for all those who rely on the vital economic precinct around Port Botany and Sydney Airport.”

“Just take a drive from St Peters through the local streets in Mascot to Port Botany and you’ll quickly realise that the growth in apartment living in the area is not conducive to hundreds of container trucks a day using those roads to access the Port.

“Without the Sydney Gateway ramps being built at St Peters, the road transport industry will not be happy if the NSW Government subsequently imposes curfews or other truck access restrictions due to growing residents’ complaints.

“Keep freight costs down … improve road safety and local amenity … it seems a no-brainer for the NSW economy and community.”