National transport and logistics company QR is accelerating its push into the billion-dollar general freight market by leasing nine new locomotives from Downer EDI in a $45 million, five-year deal.
QR’s intermodal (containerised) business has negotiated a five-year lease of nine new GT46 Ace locomotives from Locomotive Demand Power Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Downer EDI Rail Pty Ltd.
QR claims the lease will provide QR Intermodal with a competitive advantage in the $1.2 billion a year national general freight market for rail linehaul services.
QR Executive General Manager Freight Ken Lewsey said the first of the locomotives would come on line in late December 2008, and with final delivery planned by mid next year, QR would be well positioned to offer a much improved service to our customers.
“The leasing agreement is another sign of QR’s sharper customer focus, commitment to the national intermodal market and plans to leverage market growth opportunities.
“The national general (non-bulk) freight market is forecast to double between 2000 and 2020 and we expect rail to capture an increasing share of this market with QR Intermodal at the forefront of this modal shift,” Mr Lewsey said.
“The lease of the new locomotives delivers a range of benefits for us including improved reliability for the interstate component of our Cairns to Perth services and reduced fuel and maintenance costs.
“The agreement boosts QR Intermodal’s capital investment program, which includes the previously announced purchase of 18 new locomotives and 488 wagons for $187 million and the upgrade of our terminal at Forrestfield in Perth.
“It is also consistent with our strategy of offering reliable cost effective linehaul train services through the use of new fit-for-purpose equipment and terminals.”
Each week QR Intermodal offers four services on the eastern seaboard between Cairns and Melbourne, six services from Melbourne to Adelaide and two services from Melbourne to Perth.