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Low tonnage drives WA rail freight rates up

<p>Western Australian rail freight rates will rise because of the significantly reduced tonnage carried on trains this season, the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) said.</p> <p>The latest freight rate estimates show an average increase of 92 cents a tonne, according to AWB figures released this week.</p> <p>AWB’s WA manager, Lisa Wilson, said AWB managed to limit the increase with commercial insurance and carryover schemes.</p> <p>"With the harvest falling below previous forecasts and the fact that more growers are delivering directly to port, it means volumes of grain on rail have been lower than expected and this is putting upward pressure on per tonne rail rates across the state," Ms Wilson said.</p> <p>In WA, the AWB and the grain pool of WA are tied to an industry rail freight agreement, which includes a minimum $29m flagfall charge, the AWB said.</p> <p>This means the size of last year’s rail task becomes the critical factor in determining the per tonne freight rate.</p> <br />