Not since World War II has Australia’s social and economic way of life been put under such pressure. Businesses are struggling or closing, thousands have already lost their jobs, governments are shutting down all non-essential activities, and millions are working from home.
Australia’s Reserve Bank has slashed interest rates to record lows and governments are spending tens of billions to help stabilise the economy.
Anxiety is gripping the nation, with panic buying of food and household items by nervous consumers.
Now is the time for Team Australia to kick in.
What many Australians may not realise is the army of essential freight and logistic workers toiling day and night to help keep our economy ticking over. They are making sure necessities and raw materials find their way to supermarkets, retail stores, petrol stations, warehouses, steel and flour mills, and manufacturing plants.
As Australia’s largest rail freight company, Pacific National is proud to be doing our part, hauling the nation’s goods and commodities 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year along railways linking key supply chains across our vast continent.
Without goods trains, domestic and imported products like food, clothing, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, cleaning products, fuel, household products, chemicals, electronics, steel, and machinery and parts cannot be efficiently transported to depots and warehouses between cities and regional towns.
A double-stacked 1,800-metre interstate goods train can haul more than 330 shipping containers, thereby helping to free-up hundreds of truck drivers each week to focus on delivering goods and products the remaining ‘last mile’ from warehouses to stores where consumers need shelves restocked.
To put this in perspective, a single shipping container can hold approximately 25,000 toilet paper rolls, 55,000 food cans or 1,500 cases of beer.
Without freight trains, bulk exports like grain, meat, fresh and dry produce, cotton and coal cannot be efficiently hauled to ports, the gateways to global markets.
Paddock to port, pit to port, or manufacturing plant to port – essential rail freight services stretch across state borders, servicing finely-tuned supply chains.
Our company has been providing essential rail freight services since 1855. Back then we were called New South Wales Government Railways.
Today, our 600 locomotives are crewed and serviced by 2,500 men and women right across the nation. Each day and night they clock onto their shifts after practicing strict hygiene and social distancing procedures. Rail freight has the added benefit of operating within railway corridors and depots prohibited to the public.
The health and safety of our train crews are paramount, and I’m immensely proud of their efforts and dedication.
Unless ill or otherwise required by law, these crews continue to run essential freight train services around the clock. Without them, critical supply chains across state borders will break. Largely out of sight, each day they help underpin the productivity and wealth of our nation.
We thank federal and state governments for working closely with our sector during this challenging time. They moved quickly to protect the nation’s supply chains.
So next time you see a big blue and yellow Pacific National locomotive, take comfort knowing there is an army of freight and logistic workers doing their bit for Team Australia.
Dean Dalla Valle
Pacific National CEO