Innovation

in digital engineering such as the use of virtual reality and integrated 3D modelling has set new industry benchmarks 

Greenhouse

gas reduction solutions secured $150 million of funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for the project

Sustainability

is key focus as we utilise rail over road to delivers faster, simpler and more cost-effective delivery service for business and consumers

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The challenge

Partnering with leading freight and logistics company, Qube Holdings, Arcadis played a critical role in the delivery a major infrastructure project transforming the movement of freight from road to rail. The planning, design and construction of the Moorebank Logistics Park (MLP) precinct would remove emission-intensive trucks from the roads by shifting to a more frequent use of rail networks to distribute freight containers to and from Port Botany. The increased use of rail over road will also facilitate a faster, simpler and more cost-effective delivery service for business and consumers.

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    Arcadis’s role in the project was to support development of the 30-hectare site into a world-leading automated intermodal terminal.  Container receival and stacking areas, warehouses and a rail line between the site and the Southern Sydney Freight Line (SSFL), with automated truck loading and circulation areas and environmental offsets are included in the construction plan. Arcadis’ detailed knowledge and understanding of the environmental, transportation and logistical considerations of the project would be essential to meet the high technical standards required for the successful delivery of the project.


    While the project was a standout example of big business moving towards a more sustainable operating future delivering multiple environmental and economic benefits, it also presented the Arcadis team with a number of complex challenges. Delivering the project would require Arcadis to apply a new, digitally-led approach resulting in the industry-wide adoption of digital engineering innovations that will change the way large-scale problems are solved in the future. 

The solution

With a footprint the size of Sydney CBD, the MLP precinct scope included the design and development of over 30 hectares of warehousing and distribution facilities, upgrades to approximately 1.5km of Moorebank Avenue, rail and construction of associated services infrastructure.


Initially engaged to undertake strategic  environmental assessment and planning for the intermodal terminal, Arcadis’ demonstrated expertise led to further scope, including wider sustainability, detailed design, construction services, project management, flood and traffic modelling and ultimately undertaking the role of the Owners Engineer. Arcadis was also engaged to investigate potential solutions to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) from the construction and operation of the MLP precinct. 

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    Traditionally, with a project of this scale, involving multiple stakeholders and contracting partners, 2D staging plans, programs and contract documents would be used to communicate complex engineering or construction requirements to stakeholders. However, not all involved parties had the technical experience to interpret them, presenting enormous engagement and delivery challenges. Through the creation of a project specific GIS web portal, data was readily available, up to date and accurate to help make informed decisions. The GIS web portal collated planning, environmental, approval, design and construction information in a centralised location and presented this to the stakeholders though an accessible user interface.


    Taking an innovative design approach to a business as usual challenge, Arcadis also  implemented the development of a virtual 3D time-lapse of the construction program to help the client and stakeholder partners visualise a proposed digital representation of construction phases progressed at critical moments along the 2018-2022 construction timeline. To achieve this, Arcadis combined Moorebank’s construction program, procurement strategy and precinct staging strategy into a 3D digital model using InfraWorks software. This innovation enabled effective communication and planned coordinated delivery of the different stages of the project via a web browser, Virtual Reality headset or iPad. Arcadis’ choice of InfraWorks software over the more traditional 3D modelling tools also enabled visually realistic design options to be generated quickly, through the combination of topographical survey information, satellite ground imagery, internal road and rail 3D models, stormwater and utility models, and architectural warehouse models to build a base model of the entire precinct.


    The model was then also used for various stakeholder review, interrogation and live workshops such as those required as part of Safety in Design, in lieu of conventional plan and drawing reviews, and became an effective and efficient methodology through the projects delivery.


    To meet the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) during construction and ongoing operation, Arcadis quantified GHG emissions generated from electricity use, fuel use and embodied energy associated with the construction and operation of the project, including identification of a range of energy efficiency measures to minimise fuel and electricity consumption, and the preparation of a precinct wide solar photovoltaic model. Arcadis’ innovative environmental solutions minimised cost and reduced long-term carbon emissions through recognising and emphasising the significance of the use of electric forklifts instead of diesel, and installation of a 60MW ‘solar farm’ on the Moorebank Logistics Park warehouse roofs. 

The impact

Arcadis’ provision of freight logistics and carbon abatement modelling assisted Qube in securing $150 million of funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s (CEFC). The financing provided by the CEFC will enable Qube to implement several sustainability initiatives by 2030 when the MLP is at full capacity.


The project is a significant milestone in Australia’s emission reduction history. By replacing heavy road transport with freight rail between Port Botany and Moorebank, it will significantly reduce emissions and other regional health impacts associated with heavy trucks on the roads, including reduced road congestion and improved safety for road users.

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    In addition to the positive environmental outcomes of the project, Arcadis’ pioneering approach in digital engineering and innovation has set new industry benchmarks and will further evolve a best-practice planning approach to the design of future precincts. 

Used capabilities

Digital Environmental Health Safety and Sustainability

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