AusRAIL, Market Sectors

New freight terminal to drive SA mining growth

The first stage of a $30m major rail freight terminal opened in Playford, north of Adelaide, on January 25 providing a critical boost for the South Australia’s mining industry.

Developed by Australia’s largest privately owned rail operator SCT Logistics, the terminal is expected to facilitate the growth of resources, industrial and other sectors in SA by providing direct access to the national standard gauge rail network and the recently opened Northern Express Way.

South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Jason Kuchel said the terminal demonstrated how vital rail infrastructure would be to the future development of SA’s burgeoning iron ore industry.

“The SCT rail freight terminal will be a valuable addition to the state’s overall transport infrastructure and will undoubtedly help strengthen the attraction of SA to increased mining and resources development,” Kuchel said.

SCT Logistics chief executive Geoff Smith said the terminal marked another significant step forward for the company, which over the next year expects freight generation and throughput of 1 million tonnes of rail transported freight.

Importantly, the new facility would also facilitate a modal shift from road to rail between Melbourne and Adelaide.

“It will be a vital piece in the jigsaw as Playford and Northern Adelaide becomes the economic and industrial engine room of SA,” Smith said.

“It will also play a key role in enabling the $9bn worth of infrastructure being developed in Northern Adelaide, a region that’s expected to drive half of Adelaide’s industrial development over the next 20 years.”

Development of the terminal coincided with SCT-related company Specialised Bulk Rail (SBR) entering the bulk rail market in Australia by winning a $150m contract with IMX Resources for iron ore rail haulage over 1000km from the Cairn Hill mine near Coober Pedy to Adelaide’s Outer Harbour. Stage Two of the contract is expected to see its value grow to $300m.

Running five trains per week on the east-west corridor, SCT currently runs trains from Melbourne to Adelaide that are limited to 1.5km in length with single-level purpose built wagons due to height restrictions. In Adelaide, the length of each train is increased to the maximum allowed length of 1.8km with the ability to double stack containers on innovative high-cube wagons for the journey across the Nullabor to Perth.

“The expansive footprint of our new site will offer greater flexibility and facilitate the expansion of our maintenance facilities in SA as well as configuring our trains to optimise efficiency,” Smith said.

“Adelaide is in many respects an epicentre for rail in Australia as it is a major intersecting point for rail activity as well as having less inhibitive train height and length restrictions.”