Coast to coast for QR

Rail freight and logistics company QR Ltd is seeking a slice of the $400 million-plus east-west rail freight market when it begins intermodal (container) services from Melbourne to Perth .

On 13 November, a train operated by QR’s QRNational Intermodal business will pull out of the North Dynon terminal in Melbourne bound for Forrestfield in Perth’s industrial hub.

QR Ltd (formerly Queensland Rail) operates services between Cairns and Adelaide but for the first time next month will be able to offer a national service after securing prime paths on the east-west corridor for three services per week.

QR started intermodal services between Brisbane and Melbourne in 2004 and last year added Adelaide as a destination.

“This will be a significant event in the 142 year history of QR because east-west services were the missing piece of our strategy to build a national freight business,” says QR’s Acting Chief Executive Stephen Cantwell.

“The objective underpinning this strategy is to provide our current and future customers with a competitive service on the east-west corridor while adding to our already established services on the east coast.”

“After securing prime pathing QRNational Intermodal can deliver customers’ products to Perth with freight available early in the morning on the day of arrival,” he says.

Each week QRNational Intermodal services will leave Melbourne on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with a cut-off of 3pm and will arrive in Perth on Friday, Sunday and Monday, which are within the ‘market receival windows’ for deliveries to the Western Australian capital.

The services will use a 1,200m train with a capacity of 175 TEU (20 foot equivalent unit) containers which are between 6.1 metres and 16.1 metres long and up to 3.2 metres high.

The train will be capable of carrying most dangerous goods except explosives and radio-active material, will have bottom-lifting capacity of 35 tonnes and will hub in Adelaide.

“The market has been seeking an alternative on this corridor for a long time and we believe our entrance offers customers a real national choice from Cairns to Perth,” Cantwell says.

“Truly commercially sustainable competition will enable the rail industry to take the forefront in the anticipated growth of the freight sector into the next 10 years and QRNational’s launch into the important Perth corridor enhances our position for customers to get their freight on an environmentally sustainable platform in this growing corridor.”

QR has implemented its national strategy via organic growth and acquisitions including NSW linehaul freight operator INTERAIL in 2002, one of Australia’s largest logistics companies CRT Group in 2005 and bulk freight haulage company ARG in 2006.

The latest acquisition was in August when CRT bought Golden Bros, a family-owned logistics company.

Gold Bros is a national business providing specialised transport and logistics solutions to customers in the polymer, food and industrial sectors, with six national distribution centres and employing over 300 personnel.

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