THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the proposed entry of Asciano’s Pacific National into the Queensland coal rail transport market.
QRC Acting Chief Executive Greg Lane said Pacific National’s commitment of $529 million for expansion into Queensland was a significant show of confidence in the long-term future of the State’s export coal industry.
“Coming just a day after the announcement of a business restructure at QR, the coal industry now has two major transport providers vying for a share of the industry’s continuing expansion,” Lane said.
“For the industry, its international and domestic customers, that’s very good news.”
Lane said that earlier this year, the O’Donnell Review of the Goonyella coal chain had highlighted an acute shortage of rolling stock available for the export coal industry.
The review calculated $900 million in lost sales and an additional $300 million in demurrage charges over a 12-month period, primarily as a result of insufficient rolling stock.
Since then, QR has committed some $650 million to additional rolling stock and track infrastructure.
Queensland’s $25 billion a year resources sector is QR’s largest customer, with some 165 million tonnes of coal alone moved through the Bowen and Surat Basins to export ports in 2006-07.
“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,” Lane said.