AusRAIL, Market Sectors

QR divides as coal haulage contract war continues

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> QR marked its formal split on July 1 with the newly separated freight company, QR National, announcing a revised $250m coal haulage contract . </span> <p>By Sam Collyer and Jennifer Perry</p><p>Just a day later, QR National also announced that it had set new weekly records for hauling coal from mine to ports.</p><p>QR National will haul up to 1.5m tonnes of coal each year from the Jellinbah East coal mine in Central Queensland to the Port of Gladstone.</p><p>The 10-year contract that begins on July 1, builds on QR National’s haulage contracts for Jellinbah Resources’ Lake Vermont project where it currently hauls 3.25mtpa from the company’s mine to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay, to the port of Gladstone. Tonnages are expected to increase to 6mtpa when the Northern Missing Link rail line is built.</p><p>Chief executive Lance Hockridge said the Jellinbah contract demonstrates the “strength and customer focus” of the company’s coal haulage business in what he sees is clearly a highly-competitive market.</p><p>“QR National Coal…will have secured 30% of the New South Wales Hunter Valley market by 2011/12 when new long-term contracts come on line,” Hockridge said.</p><p>This is up more than 5% from 12 months ago and double what it had three years ago.</p><p>QR announced on July 2 that it had set new weekly records for hauling coal from mine to ports.</p><p>In the week 21-27 June, QR National Coal carried 4.2m tonnes of coal in Queensland, equating to an annualised 218m tonnes, surpassing a previous record of 4.1m tonnes.</p><p>The company claimed that when tonnages from the Hunter Valley are included, it carried a record 4.5m tonnes of coal across all its operations, beating a previous record of 4.4m tonnes.</p><p>However QR’s records and market gains in NSW come as QR National’s share of coal haulage is under pressure in its home state of Queensland.<br />Pacific National’s announcement this week of a $320m deal to haul coal for Macarthur Coal and Noble Group (see report) is the latest in a series of tit-for-tat deals in both the Queensland and NSW coal markets.</p><p>QR’s split sees the coal and freight assets rolled into QR National and the passenger and regional below-rail assets become part of Queensland Rail (QR), which will remain in state government hands.</p><p>QR National is to be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange later this year.<br />&nbsp</p>