QR boosts intermodal by $200 million

Transport and logistics company QR has announced plans to inject $200 million into its intermodal business for new rolling stock and freight terminal upgrade projects.

The investment is expected to further expand the company’s involvement in the $1 billion general freight market, which has been boosted by the start of its services from Melbourne to Perth last November.

Speaking at a rail infrastructure conference in Sydney, QR chief executive officer Lance Hockridge said the Queensland Government has approved the expenditure.

“This investment underlines QR’s commitment to the national intermodal market and our ambition to expand the business over time to leverage off the growth opportunities,” he said.

Mr Hockridge said the $200 million project includes the purchase of 18 new locomotives and 488 wagons, and the upgrade of the terminals at Perth’s Forrestfield and Dry Creek in Adelaide.

The company’s executive general manager freight Stephen Cantwell said general freight volumes between capital cities were projected to double between 2000 and 2020 due to rail’s relatively low carbon emissions and rising costs for road transport.

Mr Cantwell said the upgrade project would improve QR’s cost competitiveness by enhancing fuel efficiency and reliability and provide the company with the capacity to increase volumes and realise economies of scale.

The company plans to call tenders for the new rolling stock next month, which will be used to update its fleet by 2010.

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