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Shipping lines, rail operators set for regular talks

<p>Shipping Australia’s New South Wales committee will hold quarterly forum meetings with the rail industry to work out issues in the important NSW country and metropolitan rail sectors.</p> <p>The first forum will take place in early November. </p> <p>The forum proposal follows meetings between SAL and niche and interstate rail operators, as well as Pacific National.</p> <p>The meetings came after shipping lines complained at the way that the new Pacific National management has centralised the Sydney terminals for some country container rail services, and cut out multiple depot calls in the city. </p> <p>SAL met Queensland Rail and Victoria’s Freight Australia as well as niche operators like Lachlan Valley. </p> <p>Pacific National, which operates around 85% of the port’s rail services, explained that it has inherited a number of loss-making operations and needs to rationalise some of them.</p> <p>However, all rail operators say that there is a need for critical mass in volumes moving on the rails. </p> <p>The NSW and Queensland droughts are expected to hit the rail operators hard because of the decline in containerised agricultural products, and possible stiffer competition between rail operators and ports for cargo. </p> <p>At present 25% of Sydney’s container throughput moves by rail, or around 225,000 teu, using less that half of the stevedores’ rail terminal capacity. The port wants 40% moving by rail in 2020, or an extra 600,000 teu.</p> <p>Sydney Ports Corporation said that it is confident that PN and other rail operators want to expand the metropolitan rail share. </p> <br />