Aurizon is set to add new wagons to its national intermodal business, in a multi-million dollar investment it says will boost its transcontinental capabilities.
The Queensland-based operator will add 175 new wagons, valued at roughly $37 million, over the next two months, as part of its ongoing ‘transformational capital’ program.
The new wagons are standard gauge, but have the ability to convert to narrow gauge if required. The flat-top wagons are a mix of 5 pack articulated, triple-slot, well wagons allowing double stacking and more efficient twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) utilisation per service, Aurizon explained.
Aurizon says the new flatbed wagons allow greater operational flexibility to load a range of container sizes and additional capacity for 48 foot containers, “to meet the forecast market move by customers to these types of containers”.
Mauro Neves, Aurizon’s executive vice president for commercial and marketing, said enhancing the intermodal fleet with new wagons was a signal of the company’s intent to build its long-term presence in one of Australia’s most important rail transport corridors.
“This investment delivers on multiple levels – customer service, growth and productivity,” Neves said.
“Aurizon is meeting the growing demand for our freight services while also lifting the efficiency and productivity of our service offering to customers on the east-west corridor.
“These new wagons allow us to use our existing assets more productively, which is fundamental to the broader transformation program underway across Aurizon’s operations.”
Neves said Aurizon held ambitions to incrementally expand its intermodal business over time by increasing market share and leveraging strategic growth opportunities.
“We have established a strong national footprint over the past decade and are continually improving our customer service offering in the north-south (Melbourne to Brisbane) and east-west corridors (Sydney and Melbourne to Perth). We are now poised for the next phase of growth.”
Aurizon said it recognised a “concerted industry push” to increase rail’s share of the growing freight transport task through productivity and customer-focused initiatives, and Neves said rail would have to play a larger role if Australia was to meet the predicted increase in the land-based freight task.
“Aurizon aims to capture a slice of this growth by delivering exceptional customer service and continually improving our operational productivity, innovation, flexibility, efficiency and responsiveness,” Neves said.
“We know that rail has the ability to genuinely do the heavy-lifting when it comes to moving large volumes of freight safely and efficiently.
“An average freight train for example can take 110 trucks off the road. Rail is more fuel efficient and has a far smaller carbon footprint than road transport.”
Aurizon moves around 700,000 tonnes of freight across Australia each day across its product lines, including resources, bulk freight and agricultural produce.
The ‘east-west’ services are part of Aurizon’s national general freight network which provides 25 return weekly customer containerised services on the eastern seaboard between Cairns and Brisbane, daily services (6 days per week) from Melbourne to Brisbane and 4 services per week from Melbourne to Adelaide / Perth.