AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Q&amp&semicolanA with Lyle Jackson, chairman, Ansaldo STS

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Year in, year out, one of the most popular aspects of the upcoming AusRAIL conference is the CEO Forum. To preview the panels this year, Rail Express, the official publication of AusRAIL, spoke with Ansaldo STS chairman, Lyle Jackson. </span> <p><i><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">REX: Given this year’s conference theme ‘Driving the costs out of rail’, what steps is your organisation currently taking to reduce operating costs for your business and customers and how can the rail industry as a whole achieve this aim?</span></i></p><p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Jackson: As with any business, we continue to be challenged by the drive to increase competitiveness and reduce cost.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Our efforts in this regard are driven through technological and resource efficiency improvements and technological innovation which are a fundamental part of our strategic plan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">From the industry perspective the main elements that can contribute to cost reduction are greater interface between operators / suppliers / contractors on the market pipeline (leading to technology development and right sizing) and standardization of processes and standards.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">The introduction of National Rail Regulator should make a major contribution to national standardization leading to economies of scale.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">REX: There is a good deal of economic uncertainty at the moment. With this in mind, how do you see this impacting upon your business over the next 12 months, especially in regard to freight volumes (bulk and/or intermodal) or patronage for passenger operations?</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Jackson: Given we are not a rail operator, freight volumes and passenger patronage do not have a direct impact, but indirectly have an impact through the CAPEX lifecycle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Given our anticipation of reduced CAPEX over the next 12 months one must conclude that both freight passenger rail operators have or are in the process of developing adequate capacity.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">REX: In the last 12 months, where has the rail industry succeeded and where has it failed? Looking forward, what do you see as the major challenges and opportunities facing your business over the coming year?</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Jackson: There have clearly been many successes across most sectors of the rail industry in the past 12 months witnessed by the delivery of stet of the art rolling stock in NSW, progress made on the NWRL commitment, major expansions on the mining related heavy haul in WA and Qld.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">The biggest challenge beyond our control to be faced by our organisation over the coming year will be related to the anticipated slowdown in the market pipeline and maintaining the resource capability and capacity that the industry will require over the medium to long term.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">As a matter of course we will continue to be challenged by the drive to increase competitiveness and reduce cost through efficiency and technological innovation.</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">REX: We are fast approaching the first anniversary of the establishment of the National Rail Safety Regulator. Despite some states yet to fully come on board, has there been a noticeable relaxing of the regulatory burden and costs for rail operators?</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Jackson: Having a National Rail Regulator is an initiative that is fully endorsed by Ansaldo STS and through leveraging standardization of process and standards will deliver many benefits to the rail industry on both the supplier contractor side and the end client side.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">At this time I think it is fair to say we have not specifically identified any noticeable relaxation of the regulatory burden or costs for rail operators.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Jackson will take part in the Rail Suppliers CEO Forum at AusRAIL Plus, which takes place at the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre, November 26 and 28 in Sydney.</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">AusRAIL PLUS 2013 will be the biggest AusRAIL held to date and run in conjunction with the World Congress for Railway Research (WCRR). The conference exhibition will be the largest ever held in the southern hemisphere.</span></strong></p><p><strong><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot">Places still available. Visit: </span></strong><span style="font-size:10.0ptline-height:115%"><a href=""><strong><span style="Arial&quot,&quotsans-serif&quot"></span></strong></a></span></p>