Aurizon

Aurizon posts increase in profit, earnings with limited COVID impact

Aurizon has increased its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by 10 per cent on the previous year’s results and a 12 per cent increase in profit.

This improvement was largely driven by increased earnings from Aurizon’s managing of the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN) and strong performance of the company’s bulk business.

These results include the impact of COVID-19 on the business, which managing director and CEO Andrew Harding said had limited impact.

“Despite the emergence of COVID-19 in the second half of FY2020, the Company has delivered a solid operational and financial performance with no material impact as a result of the pandemic,” said Harding.

With much of Aurizon’s business involving the haulage of metallurgical coal, consistent steel production in China and a rebound of steel production in India in May and June helped the freight operator through the COVID-19 period. In addition, a drop in US metallurgical coal exports contributed.

In Aurizon’s coal business, it added new customers including Peabody and Bluescope and added volume in the contract with Coronado.

On the bulk side of the business, Aurizon added contracts with BGC for cement products from Kalgoorlie. Aurizon extended its contracts with South32 Cannington and Incitec Pivot, both on the Mt Isa corridor. Aurizon began the operation and maintenance of a ballast cleaning machine for Rio Tinto in the Pilbara and there was an increase in demand from Mineral Resources. These led to a 21 per cent increase in revenue from bulk operations.

In Aurizon’s management of the CQCN there was a shortfall of volume. Volumes are expected to be lower in the next year due to COVID-19.

Aurizon also reported on its safety record over the 2019-2020 financial year. While there was a 10 per cent improvement in the total recordable injury frequency rate, there was an 8 per cent deterioration in rail process safety performance.

Extra services running to transport household items

Linfox Logistics and Aurizon have upped their weekly intermodal services by 20 per cent, to meet the needs of households across Queensland and Australia.

Aurizon has added a number of northbound services from Brisbane, carrying finished products including food, groceries, and beverages in Linfox containers, with these carriages then filled with fresh produce on the return leg from Central and North Queensland.

The trains have been travelling between Brisbane and Cairns, Innisfail, Townsville, Bowen, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Emerald, Alpha, Barcaldine, Longreach, and Winton.

According to Linfox Logistics CEO Australia and New Zealand, Mark Mazurek, each extra rail services is equal to 80 B-double trucks.

“Collectively, we have mobilised a significant number of additional truck and train services to ensure essential items flow through to regional Queenslanders,” he said.

“Everything from groceries, to cleaning and personal care products, to fresh produce from Far North Queensland farms are delivered via these critical networks.”

In delivering these extra services, both Linfox and Aurizon have ensured that they meet and exceed health and safety measures. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a focus on health and safety is more important than ever, said Aurizon group executive bulk, Clay McDonald.

“This applies not only in their everyday roles in the transport and logistics business but also in practicing safe distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures and high levels of workplace hygiene,” he said.

“Together, we are pleased that our supply chain is delivering such an important service to the community during a very testing time for customers and communities across Queensland.”

Linfox Logistics, which began in the road freight sector, has recently expanded its rail freight operations, purchasing Aurizon’s Queensland intermodal business a year ago. Linfox owns depots, rail wagons, and 4,500 specialised rail

Aurizon purchases bulk transport and handling business

Aurizon has acquired Townsville Bulk Storage and Handling (TBSH) to grow its capacity to shift bulk freight in North Queensland.

Finalised on March 21, the acquisition expands Aurizon’s bulk freight business and the company will be now known as Aurizon Port Services. According to an Aurizon spokesperson, the acquisition comes as Aurizon looks to grow its business.

“Aurizon has been assessing growth opportunities for our bulk business to extend supply chain services beyond our core rail capability.”

The purchase enables Aurizon to provide bulk transport, handling, and stevedoring services in North Queensland, and extends capabilities across its North Queensland network.

“In the future, our Mt Isa and Cloncurry terminals will aggregate products that will be railed directly into the newly-acquired business providing a fully integrated service with significant benefits for customers,” said the Aurizon spokesperson.

The acquisition is hoped to complement Aurizon’s existing rail services. The Mt Isa line connects to the Port of Townsville, where commodities extracted from the North West Minerals province are transported for export.

“Aurizon continues to have an optimistic outlook for bulk commodity markets within Australia – products that are required to support the demands of the modern economy and a general increase in living standards throughout the world,” said the spokesperson.

Aurizon’s bulk business transports mineral commodities, agricultural products, mining and industrial inputs, and general freight throughout Queensland and Western Australia. In the last year, Aurizon has significantly grown its bulk segment of the business with a 208 per cent increase in earnings before tax, interest and depreciation.