THE contract to haul grain for CBH Group has been awarded to Aurizon, and will add three train sets to Western Australia’s already impressive grain fleet.
Operated in recent years by Watco, the CBH-owned fleet consists of 28 locomotives and 574 wagons that haul grain primarily from up-country sites to CBH Group’s export terminals.
The Aurizon contract was announced on Friday, and will give CBH rollingstock access to Aurizon’s maintenance and operational facilities at Albany, Forrestfield, Merredin, Narngulu, and Wagin, and assures investment in Avon to return to operation its maintenance facility and yards.
Under the new agreement, Aurizon will be responsible for rail logistics planning services including train planning and scheduling, tracking, maintenance, inventory control, and crew management.
The agreement is for six years with two two-year options to extend, which is contingent on Aurizon meeting its obligations under the contract.
Watco’s 10-year contract was due to expire on April 30, 2022, and the company has agreed to start a three-month transition to Aurizon later this month.
CBH acting chief executive officer Ben Macnamara thanked Watco for its service, and said Aurizon’s proposal was a high-capability model that delivered the best value to WA growers and CBH.
“Aurizon presents the most effective and efficient model of maintenance, scheduling, and execution of rail services to meet the needs of the growing Western Australian crop,” Mr Macnamara said, adding that rail played a vital part in getting grain to port via an efficient and low-cost pathway.
Aurizon said it will start hauling for CBH later this month, delivering grain into the co-operatives export terminals at Albany, Esperance, Geraldton and Kwinana.
CBH handles an average annual harvest of 14 million tonnes of grain, with approximately 60 per cent of it transported by rail.
The CBH contract will be delivered by the Aurizon Bulk business.
It provides integrated supply-chain services, including rail and road transportation, port services and material handling for mining, metal, industrial and agricultural customers throughout WA, Queensland and New South Wales.
“The CBH business represents one of the nation’s largest and most valuable export supply chains,” Aurizon Bulk group executive Clay McDonald said.
“Aurizon understands our responsibility in delivering for CBH and the state’s grain growers so they can meet their commitments with end-customers in international markets,”
“Our investment in additional trains and upgraded facilities will allow Aurizon to boost rail capacity for Western Australian grain growers, while ensuring a well-maintained and efficiently-operated fleet is available to deliver safe, reliable services for CBH,” Clay said.
General manager iron ore and central west Anna Dartnell said Aurizon was engaged earlier this year by CBH to provide additional capacity for rail haulage during the bumper WA grain harvest.
“The Aurizon Bulk team mobilised quickly, drawing on the resources and fleet of Aurizon’s national business, to provide the surge rail capacity that was required by CBH,” Ms Dartnell said.
CBH trains are typically the biggest grain trains in Australia, and comprise two locomotives pulling 60 wagons.
Source: Aurizon, CBH Group