Paddock to plate - a forward thinking study of transport infrastructure and freight efficiency


The Murraylands and Riverland region covers an area in excess of 50 000 square kilometres and across more than 12 differing industries producing between 2M and 3M tonnes of farmgate produce per annum, at a value of around $1.5B. Manufacturing and processing trebles the value of these commodities by the time they leave the region.
So how does the product from all these producers get from ‘paddock to plate’? The answer of course, is Transport – and largely by road. Due to the closure of rail spur lines from Tailem Bend to Loxton, Lameroo and Pinnaroo respectively, this has had a significant impact in terms of additional daily loads across the region’s road network; during peak grain season an average of 300 B-Double or 500 Semitrailer loads traverse the region each day.
Tonkin Consulting were engaged to undertake a Regional Road Freight Movement Study for the Murraylands and Riverland Local Government Association; to develop an understanding of the current and future freight task for the region and advise on the changes required to the road network in order to optimise its efficiency.
This has been a timely commission, with the efficient movement of freight being a current key focus for both the State and Federal Government. 

Our Task

This study has been a very large and diverse undertaking. It has included extensive consultation, research and analysis to produce a sound basis upon which business cases can be prepared for improvement of individual road infrastructure for more efficient freight movement.

More than 75 stakeholders were consulted as part of the investigations, including representatives at all levels of government, key industry representative groups and key contributing regional companies. This key input provided a detailed understanding of the volume, value and transport routes of commodities moving into, out of and through the region.

In addition, technical investigations were undertaken to assess the relative merits of using larger vehicles for the transport of freight. A number of factors were considered, including: the type/s commodities being transported, the relative safety benefits of using larger vehicles, the operating costs of differing types of transport vehicles (e.g. Semi-Trailer vs B-Double vs Road Train) and the capacity of non-road infrastructure, including transport terminals and the assessment of river crossings - both bridges and ferries.


Through thorough research, consultation and technical analysis, a clear understanding of the region’s current and forecast future volume, value, harvest periods, transport routes and key transport issues was developed and documented.

With such a large amount of information comes the complexity of how to convey this in a meaningful and useful way. Through the use of mapping; for both the Freight Task and the Supply Chain for each commodity, we effectively distilled and presented an overwhelming level of information in a clear, easy to understand manner.

The end result - a study which provides a sound basis for improved transport infrastructure, freight efficiency and economic benefit for both the Murraylands and Riverland region and beyond.

Project Summary


Murraylands and Riverland Local Government Association

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