Sydney Ports’ rail supply chain set to improve
Sydney Ports has announced the creation of an industry governed, 24/7 manned rail operations coordination centre (ROCC) that will drive greater consistency and efficiency across the port rail supply chain.
Courtesy Sydney Ports
By Jennifer Perry
The ROCC forms part of Port Botany Rail Team’s (PBRT) Sydney Ports Rail Strategy which was developed to provide an environment at the port that is conducive to achieving a 28% rail modal share.
The PBRT has the overarching objective to drive increased modal share by improving the transparency, consistency, and efficiency of port rail operations. This is aligned with the New South Wales Government’s target of doubling the current proportion of container freight movements by rail through NSW ports by 2020.
Sydney Ports recently presented its rail strategy to PBRT members, which is underpinned by the creation of the ROCC. The ROCC will see port rail operations moved to a dynamic scheduling environment for supply chain optimisation.
To be based at the port, the prime function of the ROCC will be to initially coordinate rail movements in Botany Yard leading to and from the stevedore terminals, and to act as a central communication hub or coordination between the stevedores, rail operators and network providers.
A spokesperson for Sydney Ports told Rail Express that the ROCC’s function will expand in the future, leading to dynamic scheduling along the Enfield to Botany rail corridor.
The ROCC will also oversee the introduction of key operational performance measures to benchmark performance in the port rail supply chain to encourage efficiency and consistency through improved transparency of operation.
Rail operators and stevedores will be able to log in to Sydney Ports’ online operational performance reporting tool to monitor their performance against the steering committee agreed benchmarks, allowing industry to make refinements and improvements where performance is not up to standard and impacting negatively on other parties in the chain.
The major benefits of the ROCC for customers include, improved rail network utilisation and stevedore window utilisation due to effective coordination, increased transparency through provision of operational performance reporting, and easier data and communication exchange across the port rail supply chain.
“The ROCC will [also] provide increased train utilisation of rail sidings at the stevedore terminals, as the team will plan and coordinate to ‘pull’ trains through the rail network and supply chain as required, to be serviced at the stevedore sidings, as a continuous production line," the spokesperson said.
“The rail operators will have more certainty and reliability of stevedore train servicing and cycling of trains with their customers.”
The ROCC will have an independent coordination function with its day-to-day operational business rules set and determined by the members of the PBRT’s steering committee and authorised by the ACCC as necessary.
Sydney Ports expects the ROCC to commence towards the end of the year.
Background to Port Botany Rail Team (PBRT)
The NSW Government’s response to the recommendations of the 2008 IPART report, Reforming Port Botany’s Links with Inland Transport, described the formation of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy (PBLIS), to be led by Sydney Ports, in order to address the efficiency of the landside operations at Port Botany.
Sydney Ports instigated two landside taskforces, the Port Road Taskforce and the Port Botany Rail Team (PBRT), the latter consisting of rail operators, stevedores, network providers and Sydney Ports, in order to undertake performance improvements along the port rail supply chain.
PBRT was initiated to develop rail performance measures (KPIs) and report transparently to industry in order to generate rail operational efficiency on a voluntary basis. The Sydney Ports’ chaired team meets to discuss issues concerning system performance and efficiency, supply chain and asset utilisation, and operational rules, procedures and protocols; which will promote consistency and reliability in order to support a modal shift to rail.
The spokesperson said the PBRT has in recent times, conducted rail data trials, developed a draft suite of rail operational performance measure (Rail OPMs) and undertaken a second review of rail window scheduling.
"The group has also signed a rail charter for submission to the ACCC to voluntarily agree to develop business rules to improve the efficiency of the port rail interface," the spokesperson said.
Sydney Ports Rail Strategy has been developed to provide an environment to assist achieving a 28% rail mode share. Sydney Ports has consulted widely with government and industry to promote the strategy and benefits.
It consists of a number of physical, operational and regulatory components, including the introduction of Rail OPMs, construction of new intermodal terminals, establishment of a rail operations coordination centre incorporating dynamic scheduling, and additional staging capacity for regional trains, regulated pricing at the port interface and pricing review for the wider network and supply chain.
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