Aurizon selling intermodal business to PN/Linfox

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

I think it will be interesting. My impression of Open Access on the North Coast Line since 2005 is a decline in rail use and an increase in road freight and shipping. In the case of Townsville, six daily southbound freight trains originated in 2005, now that count is down to three, with no increase in train sizes. What appears to have happened is PN built capacity around its premium supermarket customers, with no room for more marginal traffic, while Aurizon and it predessors lost the premium market, which was offsetting the more marginal customers. Off course there's been a lot of horsetrading in the premium market over the years, which has caused trouble for both companies, but ultimately, anything less than the cream in long haul containers is now on road.

With a single operator, and with the new capacity the Aurizon rollingstock will provide, it is possible PN may start seeking out the kind of business it couldn't afford to haul when competing with Aurizon. For a start it will be able to offer multiple daily arrival and departure times for the Cairns and Townsville markets, and it may be able to go after more of the shorter haul freight now all on road south of Gladstone and out of Bundaberg with its more flexible capacity.

The crossing loop extensions are now underway, with completion set for 2018. I haven't seen much in the way of construction, but there appears to be a number of loops involved in the project. The choice of running longer trains or offering more departure times will then be up to PN. I guess its up to it now to prove if a single operator can do a better job than two in a low to medium tonnage market.

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  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Very good take on things.  Thanks for the insights which sound logical..  I don't know what others think but there appears to me at least signs of a more proactive PN compared to the past.   As I said earlier having a partner in Lynfox to provide the terminal connections at each end of a rail haul is a much more integrated solution especially when Linfox has "skin" in the game and hence a stronger commitment to make that happen!!!

You're right that more paths are now available to PN and it may have increased opportunities to better utilize its much expanded fleet to improve utilization and productivity.   Yr comment that Bundaberg presents as an opportunity is also interesting and one would think that between Linfox and PN they have a lot of "intel" around future growth opportunities as one makes the assumption that you don't make an acquisition like this without some growth strategy in mind!!!
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
What your suggesting Sulla sounds like the Qld NCL might be better off under a non-open access regime.  Which is what it was before, under QR, but when opened PN came in and replaced them.  Might something similar happen down the track with PN?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

My observations suggest to me that Open Access operates sucessfully in medium to high volume corridors where there is sufficient traffic for multiple operators to function without degrading each other's operations. Low to medium volume corridors show repeated evidence that if multiple players are forced to fight each other for scraps, operations become fragmented and potentially unsustainable. Rail freight is a volume business where maximizing tonnage is a rail operator's edge over other modes - unfortunately multiple operators in a finite market doesn't allow this in many cases.

An example I recall is the NSW grain branches around Cowra, where Freight Australia began competing with FreightCorp for what must have been a pretty small pie in the early 2000s. The result appears to have been the eventual end of all rail operations on those lines and no operator interested in returning.
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
My observations suggest to me that Open Access operates sucessfully in medium to high volume corridors where there is sufficient traffic for multiple operators to function without degrading each other's operations. Low to medium volume corridors show repeated evidence that if multiple players are forced to fight each other for scraps, operations become fragmented and potentially unsustainable. Rail freight is a volume business where maximizing tonnage is a rail operator's edge over other modes - unfortunately multiple operators in a finite market doesn't allow this in many cases.

An example I recall is the NSW grain branches around Cowra, where Freight Australia began competing with FreightCorp for what must have been a pretty small pie in the early 2000s. The result appears to have been the eventual end of all rail operations on those lines and no operator interested in returning.
Sulla1

I think the volumes on the Cowra lines are less than 200,000 tpa so I think even having a private sector monopoly wouldnt survive on that line.

What are the annual volumes on the Qld NCL?
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

It was up to 3.5-million tonnes a decade ago, but it's well under 3-million now. The Crossing Loop extension report gave the exact figures, but I  can't remember them at the moment.
  Fatty Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
As I said earlier having a partner in Lynfox to provide the terminal connections at each end of a rail haul is a much more integrated solution especially when Linfox has "skin" in the game and hence a stronger commitment to make that happen!!!
"Trainplanner"


PN has always had Toll as a road transport partner as part of it's Queensland operations. Toll owned (or controlled) all of the depots PNQ operated out of until 3 or 4 years ago and was the only freight hauled on PN trains up until that time. Toll bought out of their "take or pay" contract for trains with PN by selling the depots to PN and agreeing that PN could haul other customers freight.
  neillfarmer Chief Train Controller

I am just back from a month in Mackay. I was surprised by the level of traffic on the NCL. All PN and Aurizon container trains were well loaded with few vacant slots. Some over length PN trains were seen.
Grain was still running to Gladstone and Mackay Harbour.  These trains were based at Mackay and Rockhampton running into these yards on the return trips. The Mackay train travels down to Yucan with NCL crews and then changes to Coal crews for the trip west on the coal lines.

Perhaps the 4 or 5 stabled 28 class at Mackay and the many stabled locos at Rockhampton were symptomatic of Aurizon's problems, PN's one loco was just laying over for a few hours before heading off again.
Neill Farmer
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Aurizon is currently originating/terminating up to two regular northbound freights and two southbound freights each day at Mackay (8U45/8244 and 8U55/8776) plus keeping a spare loco for the Proserpine sugar trains, which explains the crowd in the yard on occasions, while PN now rarely terminates any trains in Mackay. This time next year will be a different story with Aurizon's presence reduced to just the Bulk Division's grain and cattle trains. However why Rockhampton still sees a large collection of Aurizon locomotives is beyond me, with only one North Coast Line freight pair terminating there and very little other freight on the Central Line other than grain and cattle.
  Fatty Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
However why Rockhampton still sees a large collection of Aurizon locomotives is beyond me, with only one North Coast Line freight pair terminating there and very little other freight on the Central Line other than grain and cattle.
"Sulla1"


The workshops are still open aren't they? Lots of locos go backwards and forwards from Rocky for maintenance.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Noticed today PM9 through gheringhap had Aurizon containers on the train.  Seems SCT is carrying some freight on the east west now for Aurizon.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Noticed today PM9 through gheringhap had Aurizon containers on the train.  Seems SCT is carrying some freight on the east west now for Aurizon.
bevans
Part of the woolworths contracts. Some wagons got handed over as well because of this.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Very long Aurizon train just through Newport on the down hauling pretty much all empty container flats and a few well type.

No idea if this is normal, clearing out North Dynon and / or returning rolling stock from lease?

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Was back to the days of old  (well 12 months or so ago ) tonight with a huge super freighter ready to depart North Dynon. A heap of empties on the rear right back to the stop, loaded flats on the front half and the motive power was so far up the yard I couldn't tell if it was a last ditch Aurizon or a Qube train.

Does anyone know when Aurizons last MB service is / was?

BG
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
From a couple of weeks ago (scroll down)

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11395420-s50.htm
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
From a couple of weeks ago (scroll down)

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11395420-s50.htm
bingley hall
Thanks Bingley, I knew it was there somewhere but was on the telefonino which makes it hard for me to find.

BG
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The Federal Court today overturned the ACCC position on competition and the Terminal and has now allowed the at Acacia Ridge Intermodal Terminal to be sold to PN.

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/federal-court-decision-on-sale-of-acacia-ridge-terminal?loggedin
  james.au Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney, NSW
What undertakings has PN given?

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