Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rail Freight News In Australia

Queensland Takes Centre Stage Again
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – After detailing last month how Asciano were querying the possible monopoly and therefore commercial advantage which a privatised QR National would have over potential customers moving freight on its tracks it seems the Melbourne based concern have now pinched almost 11 million tonnes of business from QR by signing an agreement with Anglo American Metallurgical Coal Pty to take effect from January 2012. A further 5.75 million tonnes will transfer from Pacific National to Asciano at the same time meaning a total of up to A$775 million over the 10 year life of the contract. Pacific National are already closely associated with the Asciano group already however (Asciano are the holding company for Pacific and Patrick Ports).

Meanwhile QR Freight have signed a Heads of Agreement with Mineral Resources (MRL)to transport iron ore from the Yilgarn project to Kwinana Port beginning in January next year. This traffic may well rise to 10 million tonnes per annum when all projects are fully completed. MRL acquired the assets of Polaris Metals recently and vowed to push on with the Yilgarn Project immediately.

Meanwhile in Victoria the Government have pledged to invest a further A$12 million to upgrade the north – west Mildura rail freight corridor after recently spending over A$70 million on the project. The aim is to more efficiently allow the transit of north western produce, principally agricultural products such as grain and fruit plus minerals to the ports of Melbourne and Geelong.

Transit times for rail freight on the corridor should be reduced by two hours to eleven hours following the proposed improvements to the Merbein to Mildura link. We covered the basics of the plans to improve freight and port infrastructure in our August article but interested readers can research the matter more thoroughly at the Victoria Governments transport website.

Meanwhile news reaches us that AWB, Melbourne based bulk grain merchants have invested in 90 more grain rail cars costing around A$12 million which more than doubles the group’s fleet of rolling stock. The new wagons mean that the company owns four complete grain trains and all the new stock has convertible running gear for varying rail gauge tracks.

Photo:- Australian Freight Train courtesy and copyright of Mark Carter