AusRAIL, Market Sectors

QR wins key Federal Court case over Acacia Ridge

<p>In another blow for Pacific National, the Federal Court this morning (Thursday, February 16) found against the rail operator in the case that it had brought against QR for control of the Acacia Ridge terminal in Brisbane. </p> <p>Pacific National can still negotiate access to the container rail facility, which connects the narrow gauge Queensland system with the interstate track and also the port of Brisbane, but under a commercial deal with QR.</p> <p>QR chief executive Bob Scheuber said QR had made an undertaking to the court to keep its offer to Pacific National of access to Acacia Ridge on commercial terms open for 90 days, to resolve any commercial decisions.</p> <p>However, Pacific National’s board has been unable to agree on anything since last September and are now faced with a commercial negotiation at Acacia Ridge or a possible appeal of the Federal Court decision.</p> <p>Pacific National in Queensland is the major carrier for Toll North, in a contract which is at the heart of the dispute between Patrick and Toll over Pacific National. </p> <p>The decision will allow QR to press on with its plans to develop the terminal as a common user facility with access, both for its own and other intermodal operations. </p> <p>QR owns the land at Acacia Ridge, but Pacific National’s predecessor National Rail had made major investments in facilities there.</p> <p>Pacific National had claimed sole long-term tenancy at Acacia Ridge under earlier agreements, and started the Federal Court action to protect its claim after QR terminated its lease in 2003. </p> <p>Pacific National claimed at the time that a QR affiliate was the only operator which had asked for third party access to the facilities. </p> <p>QR had wanted Pacific National to stay on as the core operator in the facility, continuing to act as Pacific National’s northern intermodal hub, but on a common-user site. QR claimed there was considerable unused capacity in the facility for other operations, which Pacific National rejected.</p> <p>On Monday, QR announced it was buying ARG’s train operations in Western Australia.</p> <p>ARG is largely a bulk rail business, but rail analysts say it will eventually help QR to extend its east coast intermodal business nationally. ARG already has a near daily service from Melbourne to Adelaide used by P&#38O. </p> <br />