Asciano contract to shake up QR business structure

The Queensland Resources Council has said Asciano’s entry into the Queensland coal haulage market should make Queensland Rail look again at its business structure.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche welcomed confirmation of the entry of Asciano’s Pacific National into the Queensland coal rail transport market.

He said Pacific National’s commitment of $580 million for expansion into Queensland was a significant show of confidence in the long-term future of the state’s export coal industry.

“With the confirmed entry of a competitor for QR’s coal haulage business, it is time that QR and the Queensland Government revisited industry’s call for QR’s regulated monopoly below-track business—QR Network—to be completely separated from the rest of QR Limited.

“The advantage of a separation is that it would hopefully avoid much of the huge regulatory burden of determining a fair return on QR Network’s monopoly rail assets and provide confidence that QR will not be able to mis-use its monopoly control over the coal network to the detriment of customers and competitors.

“Clearly, Pacific National has seen an opportunity to challenge QR’s historical ascendancy, and competition can only sharpen the customer focus in coal haulage operations for the benefit of all,” he said.

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