Long-haul freight specialist Northline today launches the first express freight service between Darwin and Broome, opening up the booming Kimberley region to fast freight deliveries from northern Australia.
The two-day transit is faster than deliveries from the traditional dispatch city of Perth, especially when freight arrives from overseas through the Port of Darwin. This week’s inaugural service will haul 60 tonnes of general freight, including a pre-fabricated house and a trailer-load of wooden building trusses to Broome.
Northline is a national freight company that employs more than 400 people to provide a combination of express and general freight services throughout Australia. For 25 years, the Adelaide-based business has specialised in long-haul freight deliveries to remote areas.
Northline will run the 3700km round-trip “lane” between Darwin and Broome once a week initially — leaving Darwin on Friday for a Monday delivery and Broome on Tuesday for a Thursday delivery — although this may increase with demand.
The new route has already created four new jobs.
Northline chief operating officer Phillip Taylor said the new service was part of Northline’s multi-million-dollar investment in northern Australia.
“This whole area is booming, so we believe it makes a lot of sense to deliver general freight, including building materials, from Darwin rather than Perth,” he said.
“We already have foundation customers for the service, hauling everything from building trusses and timber to furniture and ceramics, so we see demand growing rapidly as people learn of our new service. Northline brings freight into Darwin by road, rail and sea, so we have the transport infrastructure to service the Kimberley much quicker and more cost-effectively from Darwin than Perth.”
Broome is an historical pearling town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. With a population that swells seasonally from 12,000 to more than 30,000, Broome is popular with tourists who are attracted by a sunny climate during the southern winter, Cable Beach and the magnificent Kimberleys.
Northline’s express Darwin-Broome link will complement its existing services that include “lanes” from Darwin to Perth, to Adelaide, to northern Queensland and to the south east of Australia.
Demand for mineral and energy exploration is driving a multi-billion-dollar investment boom in the north west of Australia. As well as direct expenditure, this investment is creating a secondary wave of economic activity as people build and furnish new houses and equip them with in-demand equipment such as home theatre electronics and air-conditioning systems.
Taylor said supplying that demand for general freight deliveries would be the initial focus of Northline’s presence in the region.
“Given there is so much mining, oil and gas exploration on the books, the area needs support to supply demand in terms of transport and logistics,” he said.
“In the past, people in the Kimberley region have looked at Perth, or the east coast via Perth, for suppliers. We can now open up options in the Territory, North Queensland and Sydney. That will be cheaper and quicker for them. It’s an option they haven’t had before.
“With this inaugural express service between Darwin and Broome, we have decided to focus on the speed of delivery. We are the only freight company providing a single-haul service from Darwin to Broome, so we believe that sets us apart in terms of customer service.”
Northline has appointed a dedicated team to operate the new route, which will take advantage of the company’s recently opened state-of-the-art $4 million freight distribution centre in Darwin. The company intends to increase frequency of the service to meet demand as it increases.
Taylor said the new route was based on Northline’s quarter century of experience providing long-haul services throughout Australia.
“Broome is one of the most remote places you can go to,” he said.
“We are making a financial investment in the region. We are long-haul specialists and we think the people of the North West region need a service Northline can provide.
“We are initially creating two Broome-based positions and two Darwin-based positions for this particular service. We think that could triple during the course of the year.”
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