Report into coal chain capacity

RECENT release of a review into the Goonyella Coal Chain capacity provides a number of recommendations aimed at delivering immediate and near-term gains in system capacity, according to Premier Peter Beattie and Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Michael Roche.

RECENT release of a review into the Goonyella Coal Chain capacity provides a number of recommendations aimed at delivering immediate and near-term gains in system capacity, according to Premier Peter Beattie and Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive, Michael Roche.

The Premier and Roche welcomed the independent report by former mining and railway executive Stephen O’Donnell. It was jointly commissioned by the Queensland Government and the Queensland Resources Council in late May and makes three key recommendations:

  1. A central coordination role be created to oversee and, if necessary, coordinate all activities which span the whole of the Goonyella supply chain.
  2. QR National (QRN) to immediately commence a process to purchase additional train sets to allow it to meet projected volumes.
  3. A business improvement program be commenced across the supply chain, starting immediately with rail operations as this is the current bottleneck.

The O’Donnell review has involved extensive consultation with industry participants and there has already been some progress on recommendations, as follows.

1. A central coordination role be created to oversee and, if necessary, coordinate all activities which span the whole of the supply chain.

There is general agreement from the coal companies to fund the central coordination role and the process of scoping out the role and finding the appropriate person has begun. Roche added that the QRC would be writing to the ACCC today to inform them of the contents of the report, and to assure them that ODonnell would be in contact with them shortly to work through any Trade Practices Act implications that may arise with this particular recommendation, given it potentially involved the authorised queue management system at Dalrymple Bay.

2. QRN to immediately commence a process to purchase additional train sets to allow it to meet projected volumes

As indicated in the report, QRN has commenced a process of consultation with coal producers concerning the commercial terms underpinning the acquisition of additional rollingstock. QR is currently engaging with rollingstock suppliers and expects that commitments to new rollingstock will occur in the near future. This will complement the existing rollingstock program.

3. A business improvement program be commenced across the supply chain, starting immediately with QR as this is the current bottleneck.

QR has already commenced a business improvement program from 23 July. It includes QR staff and a number of external experts. QR has appointed MAXX Implementation, a consulting firm based in Sydney with previous experience in the Hunter Valley Coal Supply Chain. The project team will consult closely with industry and provide regular updates on progress.

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