Rail developments promise smoother container freight to Port of Brisbane

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 23 Apr 2018 13:51
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
I can see now the benefits of the tunnel floor lowering and how this will drive a move back to rail freight for customers including oakey beef exports.

Was there an alternate route the port from the Darling Downs which did not require to run over the hills?

Rail developments promise smoother container freight to Port of Brisbane

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  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Those hills are the Great Dividing Range...and as the builders of every westward running railway in Queensland and New South Wales found out - there's no easy way around it. There has only ever been one rail route between South West Queensland, Toowoomba and Brisbane.

On a few occasions in the past, potential rail corridors nearly came about, including a northern route between Oakey, Cooyar, Tarong, Kingaroy and the North Coast Line - using the much less strenuous Cooyar Branch's crossing of the Great Dividing Range. The much steeper than the existing line, but more direct proposal, to connect Warwick with Ipswich with the Via Recta line between the Fassifern and Maryvale branches. And most recently the Southern Missing Link to connect the Wandoan Branch (which has Queensland's lowest crossing of the Great Dividing Range) and Aurizon's Moura system, which was mostly to move coal from the Surat Basin to Gladstone.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
And most recently the Southern Missing Link to connect the Wandoan Branch (which has Queensland's lowest crossing of the Great Dividing Range) and Aurizon's Moura system, which was mostly to move coal from the Surat Basin to Gladstone.
Somebody
Will this line ever go ahead?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Hard to say...that line will be very dependent on the future of thermal coal demand globally. Glencore owns the primary coal project in the region, Wandoan, which was approved to produce 22-million tonnes per annum last year and the new line will be needed for this mine. Speculation is Glencore is aiming to be in production by 2022 when Asian demand is expected to be higher. New Hope and Stanmore also have projects in the area that need the new line too, but they're both probably waiting for Glencore to do all the hard work with rail operators and infrastructure providers first.
  cuthbert Train Controller

If the southern missing link is built, it could also be dual gauge and ARTC can help build it so the Inland Rail can continue to Gladstone. Warren Truss, whom is pro IR to Gladstone, may be a good thing for this business case. This would redirect the coal trains from Toowoomba area going via HD residential areas in the Brisbane region to POB and I can also see Coal from the NSW Hunter Valley being directed that way too, to ease pressure down there. At least the money from the coal paths and port handling can remain in QLD, as Gladstone is owned by QLD and not OS Venture Capitalists like the POB!
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
What distance would the missing link comprise and if trains from NSW with coal were to use the link would the distances be comparable to Newcastle for the northern based trains?
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
What distance would the missing link comprise and if trains from NSW with coal were to use the link would the distances be comparable to Newcastle for the northern based trains?
x31
Its about 220km of new rail and 380km to Gladstone.

The upper end rail distance for CQ coal is I think around 400km, but there maybe some customers moving longer.

The ATEC who have proposed all sort of things rail over the last 25 years and built zero currently only have a subsmission for NG and I believe this is pretty much all that is needed. No non-coal SG trains are likely to originate from or travel to Gladstone and as the current large rail infrastructure in Gladstone is all NG, heavy rail with heavy concrete sleeper, converting to DG or building separate lines for coal would be costly.

https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/surat-basin-rail.html

This project was approved 8 years ago by the govt.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
There is currently a study that is either in progress, close to release, or being sat on by the relevant parties looking at expanding the line to Gladstone.  

Last direct news here:

https://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/250k-inland-rail-study-held-up-by-federal-bureaucr/3311082/

And another more recent one has Matt Canavan with the following quote:

The Brisbane Port will hate me for saying this but I think, long term, bulk goods and commodities will be better off moving up to Gladstone, which is a fantastic harbour and great port and a lot of greenfield space to expand because the congestion issues in Brisbane are only going to get worse,” he said.
Sen. Matt Canavan per the Courier Mail


I cant access the full article as it is behind the Courier Mail paywall.  @bevans can we access it somehow?  My usual methods are not working
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia


I cant access the full article as it is behind the Courier Mail paywall.  @bevans can we access it somehow?  My usual methods are not working
james.au

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-28660/
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Id love to know what the short term obstacles are....
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
There is currently a study that is either in progress, close to release, or being sat on by the relevant parties looking at expanding the line to Gladstone.  

Last direct news here:

https://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/250k-inland-rail-study-held-up-by-federal-bureaucr/3311082/

And another more recent one has Matt Canavan with the following quote:

The Brisbane Port will hate me for saying this but I think, long term, bulk goods and commodities will be better off moving up to Gladstone, which is a fantastic harbour and great port and a lot of greenfield space to expand because the congestion issues in Brisbane are only going to get worse,” he said.


I cant access the full article as it is behind the Courier Mail paywall.  @bevans can we access it somehow?  My usual methods are not working
james.au
Gladstone is more suited to large scale coal mining exports than Brisbane, agree there. Brisbane is ok for smaller coal ships and I due to its closer distance to port, this I assume will remain longterm.

containers, its Brisbane. Gladstone does not generate enough container based goods and Brisbane has well positioned itself. Containers are railed from Townsville and Mackay for export via Brisbane.

Grain, the inland will only expand the Brisbane grain exports, but it will need to move away from the Tonka sized trains currently used and get big in axle weight, gauge and length. Gladstone is too far north to justify railing nearly an extra 400km away.Also Gladstone's grain handling facilities is stone age and also constrained.
  phil_48 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Wynnum North
What date is this article ?  As I am a CM digital subscriber, I should be able to access it and hopefully post it here..
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Id love to know what the short term obstacles are....
james.au
The so called land bridge to Darwin has proven to be mostly a failure as its not economic to export via 3000km rail journey when a high capacity port is down the road. Likewise exporting from NSW and Vic via Gladstone and a 2000km long rail journey will also be a failure.

The Inland project to Brisbane is marginal enough (hence why the original privately funded proposals never proceeded), it doesn't need further complication to Gladstone to place the whole project at risk.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Gladstone is more suited to large scale coal mining exports than Brisbane, agree there. Brisbane is ok for smaller coal ships and I due to its closer distance to port, this I assume will remain longterm.

containers, its Brisbane. Gladstone does not generate enough container based goods and Brisbane has well positioned itself. Containers are railed from Townsville and Mackay for export via Brisbane.

Grain, the inland will only expand the Brisbane grain exports, but it will need to move away from the Tonka sized trains currently used and get big in axle weight, gauge and length. Gladstone is too far north to justify railing nearly an extra 400km away.Also Gladstone's grain handling facilities is stone age and also constrained.
RTT_Rules
Would it make any sense for PoB to drop coal and PoG to not go into containers?  Each focus on what theyre good at

Theres all sorts of issues like competition, port operator strategy etc, but do we think, on balance, it would be logical to split the operations this way?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Id love to know what the short term obstacles are....
The so called land bridge to Darwin has proven to be mostly a failure as its not economic to export via 3000km rail journey when a high capacity port is down the road. Likewise exporting from NSW and Vic via Gladstone and a 2000km long rail journey will also be a failure.

The Inland project to Brisbane is marginal enough (hence why the original privately funded proposals never proceeded), it doesn't need further complication to Gladstone to place the whole project at risk.
RTT_Rules
Agreed.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Gladstone is more suited to large scale coal mining exports than Brisbane, agree there. Brisbane is ok for smaller coal ships and I due to its closer distance to port, this I assume will remain longterm.

containers, its Brisbane. Gladstone does not generate enough container based goods and Brisbane has well positioned itself. Containers are railed from Townsville and Mackay for export via Brisbane.

Grain, the inland will only expand the Brisbane grain exports, but it will need to move away from the Tonka sized trains currently used and get big in axle weight, gauge and length. Gladstone is too far north to justify railing nearly an extra 400km away.Also Gladstone's grain handling facilities is stone age and also constrained.
Would it make any sense for PoB to drop coal and PoG to not go into containers?  Each focus on what theyre good at

Theres all sorts of issues like competition, port operator strategy etc, but do we think, on balance, it would be logical to split the operations this way?
james.au
I don't think so in this case.

The tonnage of coal from South is not high at less than 10mtpa and ships that collect these small tonnages are also small'ish.

Container wise, customers choose their preferred port by cost and time and hence most containers head south. What goes out or in Gladstone is likely very focused on local supply/customer and tonnages adequate enough to justify using Gladstone.

I believe some CQ source grain heads to Mackay due to larger shipping options.

Basically what I'm saying is market forces are dictating whats best where, let it continue.

The Missing Southern Rail Link will only be built if a mega coal mine opens. Its not viable for anything else on its own and a pipe dream for container exports. Look at how many container trains are forecast to use the Inland from Brisbane, less than a hand full a day.
  Jack Le Lievre Chief Train Controller

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
Likewise exporting from NSW and Vic via Gladstone and a 2000km long rail journey will also be a failure.

RTT_Rules
SCT has been taking volumes of traffic from Barnawatha to Bromelton which is then trucked to the Port of Brisbane, even some traffic from Melbourne and Adelaide. They even have some backhaul traffic from the PoB.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
Out of interest, meat producers (eg beef) actually do send their produce to Brisbane over Melbourne as it reduces the total travel time.  For them the few extra days avoided are worth avoiding.  Volumes are unlikely to warrant Gladstone of course.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Queensland's container trade statistics for 2015-2016

Brisbane 1,147,174 TEU

Gladstone 8,547 TEU

Townsville 58,711 TEU

Cairns 25,916 TEU



Meat containers are no longer railed south from Townsville, instead these are now exported directly through the Port of Townsville, and it appears inevitable the export containers moved south from Mackay and Rockhampton to Brisbane will eventually shift to be exported through Townsville. The current Platypus Channel widening and deepening works underway will allow larger container ships to dock in Townsville, and will almost certainly change the export/import patterns of containers in Queensland (as has happened elsewhere around the world). Container exports/imports through Townsville are reportedly tipped to exceed 80,000 this year and will pass 100,000 in the next two - still far behind Brisbane, but shippers are watching this space. Townsville Port is also taking containers away from rail, with the once four 8844/8245 services per week no longer running to Townsville, and instead originating in Mackay twice per week. Containerised bitumen from Brisbane to Townsville was replaced by bulk imports via the Port a few years ago, and companies like Bunnings import freight directly through the Townsville Port rather than using the Bruce Highway/North Coast Line corridor.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Do we know why north bound freight to Bromelton for SCT is trucked the "last mile" from the rail yard to the port and does not go via trip train?
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Do we know why north bound freight to Bromelton for SCT is trucked the "last mile" from the rail yard to the port and does not go via trip train?
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
@Sulla1  do you think there could be prospects of intermodal shuttle trains from Mackay/Cairns etc to Townsville in the future if the port gets bigger?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

@Sulla1  do you think there could be prospects of intermodal shuttle trains from Mackay/Cairns etc to Townsville in the future if the port gets bigger?
james.au

I think this is fairly likely if rail operators keep an eye on the changing market. Today's Townsville Bulletin is reporting the Townsville Port is re-positioning its focus to become Northern Australia's primary container port and is investing to increase capacity to 250,000 TEU. No doubt this business decision is to make up the huge losses in import and export tonnages from the closure of the Queensland Nickel in 2016, formerly the port's biggest customer. It is very likely the port's container catchment area could extend south to Gladstone and west to at least Tennant Creek - if the price is right. Between the container ports of Townsville and Brisbane, I doubt there will be room for Gladstone to become a major container port as well.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Do we know why north bound freight to Bromelton for SCT is trucked the "last mile" from the rail yard to the port and does not go via trip train?
x31

Considering neither Aurizon or PN run trip trains either, I suspect a combination of access/operating cost and volume makes trucking more attractive in Brisbane. PN, for example, trucks all northbound/southbound containers arriving by standard gauge to Acacia Ridge to and from the narrow gauge Moolabin yard rather than transferring directly between rail at Acacia Ridge. Trucking also allows operators to send containers to multiple destinations quickly, rather than building up a trip service to say Moolabin and another to the Port. In a way, trucks are the "shunt trains" of the 21st century, and only big volumes and/or lower operating costs can change that.
  M636C Minister for Railways

Do we know why north bound freight to Bromelton for SCT is trucked the "last mile" from the rail yard to the port and does not go via trip train?

Considering neither Aurizon or PN run trip trains either, I suspect a combination of access/operating cost and volume makes trucking more attractive in Brisbane. PN, for example, trucks all northbound/southbound containers arriving by standard gauge to Acacia Ridge to and from the narrow gauge Moolabin yard rather than transferring directly between rail at Acacia Ridge. Trucking also allows operators to send containers to multiple destinations quickly, rather than building up a trip service to say Moolabin and another to the Port. In a way, trucks are the "shunt trains" of the 21st century, and only big volumes and/or lower operating costs can change that.
Sulla1
If Acacia Ridge is transferred to PN operation, might we see Moolabin close and all operations centre on Acacia Ridge?

Certainly there would be an incentive to reduce double handling of containers from the south.

Does Acacia Ridge have sufficient capacity to replace Moolabin for the NG operations?

Peter

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