New CEO for Queensland Rail

QR’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Lance Hockridge has launched the inaugural QRNational Intermodal rail service between Melbourne and Perth, the final link in a national containerised freight service for the Australian transport and logistics enterprise.

In his first public event since commencing on 8 November, Mr Hockridge joined the QR Chairman John Prescott for the service launch at the North Dynon freight facility in Melbourne.

Mr Prescott says Hockridge will lead QR’s next phase of development and growth. “The QR Board of Directors engaged in an extensive national and international search for a global executive. The Board is extremely pleased to have secured Lance Hockridge,” Prescott says.

“QR is a strong business operating in a national transport market undergoing tremendous growth and change. Lance has the right skills and vision to lead the business forward.

“There are challenges for our business and changes to be made but there are also exciting opportunities for growth. The Board has set aggressive growth targets for the CEO both in terms of expanding the national business and in improving profitability.”

Mr Prescott also released QR’s 2006/07 financial results which showed a marked improvement on the previous year.

“Profit after tax (net profit) increased 123% to $183.2 million in 2006/07 on revenue which grew by 27% to $3.2 billion. All our businesses including coal achieved good sales growth,” Prescott says.

“QR has obtained significant synergies from integrating our east and west coast bulk freight operations following the June 2006 acquisition of ARG. This provides a strong platform for growth especially in the booming resources sector.

“Strong operating cash flows also allowed QR to undertake a $1.5 billion capital investment program during the year, double the level of the previous financial year.”

Prescott says improving financial performance continued to be a major emphasis, as QR pushes ahead with national expansion and the sharpening of our commercial focus.

“QR is actively exploring new business partnerships, service expansions and structural changes to ensure its performance and customer focus continues to improve,” he says.

Lance Hockridge says he was delighted to be in Melbourne at the heart of QR’s continuing national expansion.

“QR now offers a full container service from Cairns to Perth via Melbourne. It gives customers a third and highly-competitive carrier across the Nullarbor, one of Australia’s most important transport corridors,” he says.

“Over the past five years, the strategy has been to build national capability and volumes across the five mainland states and we are now poised for the next significant growth phase for the business.

“My focus will be on continuing QR’s vision of re-shaping itself as a leading Australian transport company.

“We will sharpen our commercial and customer focus and target strong volume increases across the transport sector, on the back of continuing economic growth and a resources boom.

“I envisage that over time there will be a range of changes, both small and large, to improve the capability of our company.”

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