QR rejects blame for coal bottlenecks

QRNational Coal’s Group General Manager Mike Scanlan has rejected suggestions that rail is to blame for the current bottlenecks at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal in Central Queensland.

“At QR we know in the past we could have done better in keeping up with the demand that emerged from the coal boom, but we want to put our current position on the table,” said Scanlan.

“Our upgrading work and ongoing purchases of new trains to allow us to carry more coal from the Goonyella System through to the port at Dalrymple Bay, haven’t been further delayed.

“QR is not the current bottleneck and hasn’t been since August.

“We have had 328 services not required by DBCT since August, at the planning stage or cancelled on the day of operations. This is equivalent to 3.15million tonnes, had all those services operated.

“In fact, QR has even temporarily moved train capacity from Goonyella to service the Port of Gladstone as needed.”

Scanlan says it’s time the blame game stopped as it is not helping alleviate the current bottlenecks.

“No-one is winning out of restrictions in the supply chain. I acknowledge that QR was the bottleneck at the time of the O’Donnell Review, but that review also highlighted that bottlenecks would shift back to the port during upgrade construction, and that time is now.

“Industry expectation is that the upgrade won’t be complete by January and that it will most likely be further delayed. In the meantime, we are trying to help our customers with innovative ways to get their coal exported, including re-routing it to Abbot Point.

“Irrespective of when it is delivered, at this stage QR is confident we will match the throughput of the DBCT once the expansion project at the terminal is complete,” he said.

“To coincide with increased capacity at DBCT we intend to introduce the 23rd train in January and the 24th in February and we hope these trains will be able to be used.

“Additional trains will continue to be added to the Goonyella network over 2008 and 2009 as both ourselves and the ports progressively ramp up capacity. “QR’s first phase of the 3rd rail loop servicing DBCT was completed on time and on budget.”

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