AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARTC downgrades Hunter Valley capacity forecasts

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Australian Rail Track Corporation has lowered its forecasts for volume requirements over the next decade on its Hunter Valley rail network. </span> <p>ARTC’s annual Hunter Valley strategy is aimed at assessing the potential requirements for change on the network, to cater for future usage. The 2014-2023 Hunter Valley Corridor Capacity Strategy, released recently by the ARTC, looks to update the 2013-2022 report from a year ago.</p><p>Arguably the biggest change in the 2014 strategy from a year ago is a downgrade in forecasted volumes, over the next decade, along much of the Hunter Valley network.</p><p>ARTC’s metrics show contracted plus prospective volume at Newcastle Ports in 2020/21 will be roughly 65mt each quarter (an annualised rate of around 260mtpa). This is a significant downgrade from the 2013 report’s predictions for Newcastle volumes in 2020/21, which sat closer to 275mtpa.</p><p>The downgraded forecast sees a prospective and contracted volume at Muswellbrook of 120mtpa in 2020/21, reduced from around 132mtpa in last year’s forecast.</p><p>And on the Bylong-Mangoola section, ARTC is forecasting around 42mtpa of prospective and contracted volumes in 2020/21 – a significant downgrade from last year’s forecast, which was closer to 57mtpa for that section.</p><p>Nonetheless, export coal volumes across the network are predicted to increase significantly in the next decade, despite the downgraded forecasts.</p><p>Currently contracted export coal volumes are 168.7mtpa in 2014, 184.1mtpa in 2015 and 191.5mtpa in 2016, according to ARTC’s figures.</p><p>Coupling the contracted volumes with prospective growth, the ARTC laid out its recommendations for expansion to the Hunter Valley network, in its report.</p><p>“This rate of growth would require additional terminal capacity to be developed in advance of [Newcastle’s] T4,” the ARTC noted. “Options for a modest increase in total terminal throughput are currently being developed.”</p><p>The full report is available <a href="http://www.artc.com.au/library/2014%20HV%20Strategy%20-%20Final.pdf">here [PDF link]</a>.</p>