AusRAIL, Market Sectors

News in Brief ? 28 April – 5 May 2010

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> </span> <p><strong>Asciano delivers mixed bag in March quarter </strong><br />By Sineva Toevai<br />Asciano’s container operations had a flat March quarter but its coal haulage division performed relatively better with an increase of 33% from the same period last year. <br />In the three months ended March 31st, Patrick Container Ports delivered a 1% increase in container lifts&nbsp to 435,000 with Melbourne (+7%) and Brisbane (+1%) reporting gains while Sydney (-2%) and Fremantle (-5%) posted declines, Asciano said.<br />Contracts in Queensland and healthy demand in New South Wales boosted Pacific National’s coal haulage to 4.42bn net tonne kilometers in the March quarter from 3.32bn net tonne kilometers a year earlier.<br />Meanwhile, Asciano’s Pacific National Intermodal unit hauled 5.29 net tonne kilometres, up 10% from last year.<br />Source: Lloyd’s List Daily Commercial News – <a target="_blank" href=""></a><br /><strong><br />Growing federal criticism of QR</strong><br />Federal finance minister Lindsay Tanner has reportedly joined a growing list of Federal government ministers who have criticised the Queensland government’s sale of QR’s below rail assets, in warning that the sale could result in similar competition concerns to those facing Telstra. Tanner’s comments follow similar statements by federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese and federal resources minister Martin Ferguson, however QR chief executive Lance Hockridge rejected comparisons of the sale to Telstra on the ABC’s <em>Lateline </em>program last week <br /><br /><strong>Milestone reached in modernisation of East West rail corridor</strong><br />Another key milestone in the modernisation of the East West rail corridor has been reached with the newly upgraded passing loop at Bolivar becoming operational last week. <br />The $4.5m project extended the length of the passing loop to 1,800 metres in order to be able to cater for much longer trains (see attached map).<br />The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) received $23m in federal funding to build four new passing loops as well as extend the Bolivar loop on the line between Adelaide and Kalgoorlie. ARTC completed four of these projects in a little over 12 months.<br />ARTC chief executive David Marchant said ARTC is pushing forward with its plans to upgrade the East West corridor and make rail more competitive, with the new passing loops expected to cut transit time and expand capacity on the line between Perth and Adelaide.<br />“As Australia recovers from fallout from the global recession we’re determined to make the interstate rail network a value adding asset within the national transport logistics system. Already 80 per cent of the freight that moves between Australia’s east and west coasts travels by rail,” Marchant said.<br /><strong><br />UAE’s&nbsp $69bn public transport investment</strong><br />The UAE is reportedly planning to invest $68bn in public transport projects in Abu Dhabi in the next five years with plans to include more than 40 metro stationsand&nbspa $7bn 131km-long underground metro monorail track project.<br /><br /><strong>ATC update</strong><br />Australian Transport council (ATC) ministers have “reconfirmed” that the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) position that the improvement of safety is a “central point” to COAG reforms and the current rail safety standards will be maintained through the establishment of the National Rail Safety Regulator. <br />“Furthermore, the annual work program, reporting and consultation for the National Rail Safety Regulator will ensure that each jurisdiction’s rail safety issues are addressed,” the ATC said in a statement.<br />ATC ministers “welcomed” the confirmation of plans to ensure that further development of all these reforms will include the Rail Safety Reform Project Office’s establishment of a reference group.<br />ATC also endorsed new National Guidelines for Integrated Passenger Transport and Land Use Planning for reference to Local Government and Planning Ministers Council for counter endorsement.&nbsp These Guidelines will support the essential contribution of Transport Ministers to the development of capital city strategic plans by 2012. <br /><br /><strong>South Morang Rail Extension alliance announced</strong><br />The alliance that will deliver Victoria’s $650m South Morang Rail Extension project was announced on April 29th.<br />John Holland and Aecom have joined the Department of Transport, Metro Trains and VicRoads will design, deliver and manage works to include 18,000 concrete sleepers, 12 km of overhead wiring and another 12 km of new track.<br />“This project will improve access to public transport for the Whittlesea growth corridor and improve capacity and reliability for passengers who currently use the Epping train line,” public transport minister Martin Pakula said.<br />The alliance will now start work on the detailed design and community engagement process with major construction scheduled to commence later this year.<br />The South Morang Rail Extension Project is part of the government’s $38bn Victorian Transport Plan (VTP).<br /><br /><strong>Final upgrades for Nth QLD most dangerous level crossings</strong><br />The final upgrades on eight of North Queensland’s most dangerous<br />train level crossings have been completed, it was reported. <br />The Queensland Rail Level Crossing<br />Taskforce’s work has included engineering upgrades at 66 level crossings across Queensland, an education process for the state’s truck drivers and work with Queensland Police, it was reported.<br /><br /><strong>BHP Billiton gets nod as Abbot Point developer </strong><br />By Sineva Toevai<br />The Queensland Government has named BHP Billiton as preferred developer of the new X80 coal terminal at Abbot Point. <br />BHP Billiton Metallurgical Coal president Hubie van Dalsen said the company expected strong export growth from its metallurgical coal resources in the Bowen Basin.<br />“The new Abbot Point Coal Terminal is a key element in our growth plans,” van Dalsen said.<br />BHP will now enter into detailed discussions with the Queensland Government to negotiate construction of the terminal, he said.<br />Source: Lloyd’s List Daily Commercial News – <a target="_blank" href=""><u><font color="#000000"></font></u></a><br /><br />&nbsp</p>