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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
East coast grains handler GrainCorp has pledged to invest $60 million upgrading 13 key country sites to boost its rail efficiency in the face of growing competition.
The investment is part of the previously announced $200 million "Project Regeneration" aimed at overhauling GrainCorp's sprawling country storage network across Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
Project Regeneration is targeting the development of more than 50 high capacity sites in a bid to cut rail costs by $5 a tonne and return up to 1 million tonnes of grain to rail network and away from roads.
GrainCorp chief executive Mark Palmquist said that the works will commence this month and will be staged for the receival of this year's winter crop.
"We are very excited about the benefits this investment will deliver to growers and other customers using our network," he said.
"Reduced complexity, faster rail loading times and shorter train cycle times will increase the volume of grain transported by rail and reduce supply chain costs, which translates to improved grower returns."
Mr Palmquist said that discussions with the various state governments about improving run-down country rail networks are progressing well.
He singled out the NSW government's pledge to increase grain rail freight and praised the state's $400 million fixing country rail commitment.
The network overhaul comes in the wake of a failed $3 billion takeover bid of GrainCorp by US agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland and as competition in Australian grains heats up.
Logistics group Qube Holdings has teamed up with GrainCorp rivals Cargill and Emerald Grain to build a rival port facility at Port Kembla in a joint venture called Quattro Grain.
There is speculation that Quattro may build another rival bulk terminal and competition is intensifying at some other ports including Newcastle.
GrainCorp reports earnings on Thursday.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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