AUSTRALIA’S largest rail-freight business, Aurizon, is introducing 10 new heavy-haul locomotives to New South Wales and Western Australia in order to meet customer growth in high-demand Australian commodities, including grain.
Four locomotives have already rolled out of manufacturer UGL’s Newcastle’s facility, with the remaining six locomotives to be commissioned in coming months.
The locomotives represent a more than $50 million investment in additional haulage capacity for Aurizon’s bulk business, which including rail and road transportation, port services and material handling for agricultural, mining and industrial customers.
The grain-haulage side of Aurizon’s bulk business now moves more than nine million tonnes per annum to ports in Queensland, NSW and WA.
The company services approximately 30 grain receival and handling facilities in NSW feeding into the Port of Newcastle.
In Western Australia, Aurizon has a long-term contract with Australia’s largest grain co-operative CBH and is ramping up rail capacity for a record harvest.
Last year Aurizon acquired ConPorts, renaming it Aurizon Port Services (APS). It includes an export terminal and bulk ship-loader, adjacent to rail at the Port of Newcastle.
Head of Aurizon’s bulk business, group executive Clay McDonald said the APS infrastructure will provide customers, including those moving bulk grain, more efficient rail access to the NSW port.
“The APS acquisition has been the catalyst for securing a strategic foothold in the NSW bulk market, where we can offer direct rail access to the port for regions that boast rich mineral and agricultural wealth,” Mr McDonald said.
Mr McDonald said a new locomotive fleet also gives Aurizon the extra capacity and flexibility in a market like Western Australia where there is continuing strong growth in the resources and agricultural sector.
“The bulk business has been working hard with CBH to increase rail capacity and fleet efficiency in meeting the record grain harvest produced by WA growers.”