Aurizon has kicked off its three-year operations transformation program by announcing planned closures of sites in Rockhampton and Townsville, in Queensland.
The Brisbane-headquartered rail operator plans to close its Locomotive and Wagons Maintenance Depots in Rockhampton, with work to be consolidated to the nearby Rockhampton Heavy Maintenance Facility.
The Rockhampton closure is expected to result in 17 job losses, while further rationalisation and outsourcing of some non-core and site service activities at the Rockhampton Heavy Maintenance Facility will see 23 more jobs cut, the company said.
Aurizon also plans to close the Wheelshop at its Townsville Workshop in December 2015, six months earlier than the previously announced closure date of June 2016.
The Townsville closure would see 34 jobs lost.
For now, the Townsville work will be absorbed into existing facilities in Rockhampton and Redbank. But Aurizon is investing in a $50 million, highly-automated wheel machining shop to deliver the work currently performed in Townsville, Rockhampton and Redbank.
The new facility would be located in Central Queensland, adjacent to the coal network, at a site to be determined, Aurizon said.
The closure and consolidation plans are part of the company’s next three-year phase of the operational transformation program announced in mid-2013.
Aurizon says the changes acknowledge a tough economic environment for its customers, especially in the resources sector, and the short to medium term impact this is having on freight tonnages and revenue.
On Wednesday, the company commenced consultation with employees in Rockhampton and Townsville in Queensland on the proposed changes.
“The aim is to remove surplus maintenance capacity and deliver core work more efficiently and at a lower cost,” Aurizon said in a statement.
Also on Wednesday, Aurizon announced a $40 million investment in a new intermodal terminal, to be co-located with existing rail activities at Stuart, south of Townsville.
The company said the terminal would sit “strategically on the juncture of the north coast (Brisbane to Cairns) and north-west (Townsville to Mount Isa) rail and road corridors”.
“This will facilitate removal of all rail activities from inner-Townsville by June 2016, allowing potential redevelopment and urban revitalisation in collaboration with the private sector and local and state governments,” Aurizon said.