AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARG determined to continue hauling WA grain

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> QR-owned Australian Railroad Group (ARG) faces the prospect of losing its grip on grain haulage in Western Australia within months if it cannot improve its performance and significantly increase rail’s share of the freight task. </span> <p>By Sineva Toevai<br /><br />ARG has been hauling grain in WA since 1936 but its market dominance is to be tested this month when several international operators are expected to finalise their bids to take over the above-rail contracts.<br />The state’s grain marketing and handling group, CBH, believes rail’s share of the grain freight task should be up around 70% instead of the 20% ARG is currently handling.<br />Grain marketing deregulation in 2008 prompted CBH to open the WA above rail freight task to its first ever tender and the initial interest in the contract has come from as far away as Japan, Europe and South Africa.<br />While the rail industry has long noted the inadequacies of the below-rail network, there are concerns that an under-performing above-rail operator may also be impinging growth if it cannot provide competitive pricing and efficient service for the export body.<br />Bids for the above-rail contract close in June and ARG’s existing contractual agreement with CBH is due to expire in October.<br />ARG chief executive Ken Lewsey said the group was assessing the tender terms.<br />“We will be looking at every facet of our business to ensure we can operate our trains as efficiently as possible within the restrictions of the existing network,” Lewsey said.<br />“Our management and staff are highly skilled and their knowledge of the rail task is immense.<br />“ARG is also a large employer in regional WA, and wants to maintain the economic and social contribution to the regional towns in which it operates.&quot</p><p>Source: Lloyd’s List Daily Commercial News – <a target="_blank" href=""></a></p><p>&nbsp</p>