AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Pacific National drops Botany port container services

<p>Pacific National will cease its Port Container Services in and out of Botany to redeploy its assets elsewhere.</p> <p>The surprise move means service customers will need to find other operators quickly to plug the large hole that Pacific National will leave.</p> <p>Pacific National, which controls the lion’s share of rail windows at Port Botany, said it will wind its services down over the next two months.</p> <p>The decision affects several port-bound services from New South Wales regional and metropolitan centres, including Dubbo, Newcastle and Narrabri.</p> <p>"While we are redeploying our assets, we’ll be working with other rail operators to provide continuity to the port," Pacific National chief executive Stephen O’Donnell said.</p> <p>"Other areas are experiencing high demand and we need to increase our capacity to cope with this."</p> <p>Although Pacific National has not detailed where it will deploy all the assets, some of the locomotives could be relocated to the Hunter Valley coal network.</p> <p>One of Pacific National’s owners, Patrick Corporation, has confirmed it will take up some of the slack.</p> <p>But one other operator, Lachlan Valley Rail Freight, said other operators would struggle to take over most the Pacific National services.</p> <p>"We have been approached by numerous parties but we can’t take any more on," Lachlan Valley Rail Freight chief executive John Hull said.</p> <p>"There is no-one on standard gauge that has that sort of equipment just sitting around."</p> <p>Industry sources say that Pacific National has shown no signs of agreeing to sell any rollingstock to operators which might be interested in taking on the port services.</p> <p>A large customer that could struggle to find a replacement service provider at short notice is FCL’s Blayney operation, sources say.</p> <p>The container terminal sends 55,000 teu a year to Port Botany and it is estimated that a loss of the rail option would result in an extra 650 truck movements a week on the Great Western Highway.</p> <p>A Patrick spokeswoman said that Patrick Port Link, which the operates Patrick Rail business, would take on service tasks for Narrabri, Griffith and Dubbo.</p> <p>"We expect that the number of services to Port Botany will remain the same," she said.</p> <p>"We intend, where we have a regional interest and customer, to establish our own services to replace those that Pacific National are vacating."</p> <br />