Operators meeting strengthening demand for rail freight

Figures released by Aurizon show that there has been greater demand for rail freight services in the March quarter of 2020.

The Queensland based business, which operates the Central Queensland Coal Network, as well as coal services in NSW and South East Queensland and national freight services, saw a 2 per cent increase in total above rail volumes when compared to the 2019 March quarter.

The growth was driven by a 12 per cent increase in bulk volumes, however coal volumes remained flat.

In an ASX statement, the company attributed the growth to strong volumes of iron ore from Mt Gibson, in the Kimberly and Mid West of Western Australia. However, the overall level of growth in the bulk sector was affected by the flooding of the Mt Isa line in the March quarter last year, which restricted volumes in that period.

The flat demand for coal volumes were affected by the ramp down of New Acland mine, industrial action and adverse weather in February and march which impacted the Centre Queensland Coal Network.

Aurizon also noted that there has been greater demand for freight rail services from Linfox due to increased demand for consumer goods during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Aurizon has put in place extra preventative measures and there have been no cases of COVID-19 among Aurizon employees.

Linfox has been redeploying some of its workforce from affected operations to manage this demand for grocery products and the company is ensuring that supply chains remain open, said Linfox Logistics CEO Australia and New Zealand, Mark Mazurek.

“It is critically important that Linfox’s warehousing, road and rail networks continue to function safely and efficiently and that we can work collaboratively to deploy our people into new roles.”

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