Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Asciano bids for WA rail task

Asciano is among the bidders vying for CBH’s rail contract in Western Australia, which is currently operated by QR National subsidiary Australian Railroad Group (ARG). A spokesperson for CBH told Rail Express that this is the first time the mineral resources cooperative has undertaken a tender process for WA’s rail task.

“Our aim with the tender was to encourage rail operators to provide proposals that were innovative and intended to drive efficiencies in the supply chain, based on the geographical locations of the narrow and standard gauge networks in WA,” the spokesperson said. CBH is reprtedly aiming to increase the rail freight delivery from 50-70%.

The tender has been split into three packages and CBH expects to finalise the process by the end of the year. It has received significant interest both locally and internationally, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Asciano told Rail Express that it is pitching for all three parcels.

“These types of contract wins are important for Asciano as they provide good returns for the company and satisfy benchmark returns, but we will be careful to focus on contracts where we can manage growth,” the spokesperson said.

Rail services for grain in WA were traditionally run by government-owned Westrail, but the company's privatisation in 2000 saw the split of above and below rail assets, with QR National buying the rolling stock and Babcock and Brown the track, now managed through its subsidiary WestNet Rail.

The CBH spokesperson said since privatisation there has been a “steady decrease” in rail performance both in rail operations and track conditions, with performance dropping significantly in the past few years.

“CBH, on behalf of its grain grower members, has taken the step to tender the rail operations task for the first time in WA history in an attempt to correct this decline in performance and create greater efficiencies for all users of WA’s grain supply chains,” the spokesperson said.

“It is the best interest of all players in the WA grain industry that as much grain moves to port, using the least cost pathway. By opening up this tender process, our aim is to maximise the use of rail so that it is the most efficient mode of transport for carting and these efficiencies are reflected in both transport capacity and cost of the task.”

Direct link to the article here.

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