AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Aurizon sees big lift in coal numbers

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Freight rail operator Aurizon has announced an impressive increase in coal handling volumes in the 2013/14 financial year, despite a slower June quarter. </span> <p>Aurizon handled 52.1mt of coal in the June 2014 quarter, down 1% on the June 2013 quarter. A 2% decline was seen in Queensland, with 42.2mt handled there compared to 43.1mt a year prior.</p><p>The Queensland decline was attributed to a strong figure in last year’s June quarter, as well as “a major customer undertaking mine maintenance that impacted production, the end of Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek contract in October 2013, and the closure of Peabody’s Wilkie Creek mine in December 2013.”</p><p>That slowdown in Queensland, year-on-year, overshadowed a 2% increase in coal volumes in NSW for the June 2014 quarter.</p><p>Despite the overall 1% decline in June quarter numbers, however, Aurizon managed a 9% increase in coal volumes for the financial year as a whole.</p><p>The haulier handled 210.4mt of coal in 2013/14, up from 193.7mt in the previous financial year.</p><p>This result was carried by particularly strong September and December quarters, when 53.5mt and 56.2mt of coal was handled, respectively, thus allowing Aurizon to overcome the softer June quarter.</p><p>Coal volumes in Queensland specifically were up 9% to 169.9mt. In NSW, coal volumes rose 7% to 40.5mt.</p><p>On a net tonne kilometre (NTK) basis, Aurizon’s coal hauling business grew 13% in 2013/14. After recording 193.7bn NTKs in 2012/13, Aurizon improved on that result to record 210.4bn NTKs in the financial year just ended.</p><p>On the smaller, iron ore side of Aurizon’s business, the company saw a 21% growth in volumes and an 18% rise in NTKs. It handled 29.9m tonnes of iron ore, and recorded 12.2bn NTKs of iron ore haulage.</p>