New reference group keeping inland rail on track

The Australian Logistics Council has welcomed the announcement of a special Reference Group led by Bruce Wilson AM to work with the Australian Rail Track Corporation to engage with the community and industry on the next phase of the Inland Rail Project.
“Inland rail is critical to improving the efficient movement of freight in Australia, and so I welcome today’s announcement of the Project Reference Group to help deliver the next stage of this nationally significant infrastructure project,” said Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director.
“Community and industry engagement throughout the planning stages of the project is fundamental to ensuring stakeholders fully understand the benefits of Inland Rail and how it may impact them in the future.
“The Group’s work will complement the community engagement activities already being undertaken by ARTC with landowners and affected communities as part of the work to determine a final alignment of the inland rail route through southern Queensland.
“With an NTC report showing Australia’s domestic freight task is expected to grow 26 percent by 2026, it is important that we keep this important freight project on track by working with all stakeholders along the corridor – the Project Reference Group will help achieve this.
“As a former Director General of Queensland Transport, Bruce Wilson has a strong appreciation of the local issues that need to be addressed to take this important project forward.
“This 1700km link between Brisbane and Melbourne will transform the way we move freight around the country, and in effect will complete the spine of the national freight rail network.
“To maximise its effectiveness, the inland rail route must have end to end connectivity and include efficient linkages to key freight hubs and intermodal terminals, such as InterLinkSQ – a master-planned logistics, warehousing and industrial estate located 13kms west of Toowoomba.
“ALC looks forward to engaging with the Yelarbon to Gowrie Project Reference Group and ARTC to progress the planning and construction of Australia’s largest rail

Centurion buys rival to expand heavy haulage capacity

Independent transport and logistics company, Centurion has purchased the entire heavy haulage trailing fleet of McAleese Limited.
The acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, will complement Centurion’s existing heavy haulage business and make it the largest heavy haulage service provider in Australia, says the company.
Through the transaction the Perth-based company has also entered into an agreement on premises giving it a foothold in the heavy haulage market across four states – Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. Centurion’s intent is to be fully operational by January 2017.
Centurion Chief Executive Justin Cardaci said the purchase of the McAleese fleet was strategically sound, aligned with the company’s strength in the resources sector and provided Centurion with a unique opportunity to expand.
“As a well-established and trusted Western Australian company, with more than 45 years’ experience in the transport and logistics arena, including heavy haulage, we have the capability to run a successful national business,” Cardaci said. “Centurion is a financially strong and stable business that understands the industry. This asset purchase will give us the platform to access new markets and grow our business nationally.”
Cardaci said the company wanted to continue servicing existing and previous McAleese customers under the Centurion banner, targeting industries nationally that depend on the reliable and safe movement of large equipment, including mining, energy, infrastructure and construction.
“McAleese heavy haulage was once a highly successful business in its own right and we believe once we have transitioned these assets to Centurion there is plenty of scope to re-establish this success,” says Cardaci. “We have appointed former McAleese part owner Keith Price, who successfully ran the business until it listed, to be in charge of Centurion’s heavy haulage operation.”

Levy could cost WA Govt $2.4 billion

Western Australian mining companies could cost the state government up to $2.4 billion if they decide to fight the proposed $5-a-tonne ‘levy’ on iron ore exports.
The fee, which up until now has been $0.25-a-tonne, could be successfully challenged in a court of law, Murdoch University law lecturer Lorraine Finlay told the ABC.
If the challenge is successful it could also threaten the already existing revenue stream leaving the Western Australian government poorer by up to $120 million.
“The concern with the production rental levy is that it’s really an excise duty dressed up as a levy,” says Finlay, “and if the High Court held that that was the case, then the levy would be constitutionally invalid.”
So how would the mining companies get around the tax? Under Section 90 of the Australian constitution, states are not allowed to introduce taxes on the production, manufacture, sale or distribution of goods.
The increase is being championed by Nationals Leader Brendon Grylls who says the old agreement – dating back to the 1960s – needs to be upgraded to reflect 2016 prices, not those of 50 years ago.
“The Auditor-General reviewed State Agreements in 2004, he made it very clear that future parliaments shouldn’t be shackled by the terms of a 1960s agreement,” says Grylls.

Komatsu unveil cabless autonomous trucks

Komatsu has unveiled its completely cables, next gen autonomous truck at MINExpo.
“Unlike 930E and 830E autonomous models, Komatsu has newly developed this vehicle exclusively as an unmanned vehicle designed to maximise the advantages of unmanned operation,” the company said.
Komatsu said the design of cabless vehicle, dubbed Komatsu’s Innovative Autonomous Haulage Vehicle, allows for an equal distribution to the four wheels both loaded and unloaded, and by “adopting four-wheel drive, retarder and steering, Komatsu is aiming for high-performance shuttling of this vehicle in both forward and reverse travel directions, thereby totally eliminating the need for K-turns at loading and unloading sites”.
It reportedly has a turning radius of 15.9 metres.
The company went on to state the new vehicle will improve productivity at operations that feature challenging conditions, such as slippery ground or confined spaces for loading, although it did not elaborate on how the machine will overcome these issues.
The Innovative Autonomous Haulage Vehicle has a gross vehicle weight of 416 tonnes, and a payload of 230 tonnes.
It has a power output of 2014kW, a maximum speed of 64 kilometres per hour, and measures 15 metres in length and 8.5 metres in width.
It has not set an official launch date, only stating it plans a market introduction “in the near future”.

LiftRite Hire get Kobelco WA dealership

LiftRite Hire and Sales has become the Kobelco dealer for Western Australia, with Loadex withdrawing from this market.
LiftRite was founded in 1983 to provide materials handling solutions to the construction, mining and agricultural industries, and also operate in the compact construction equipment market.
While LiftRite has handled compact equipment, it is no stranger to large equipment, with some of the materials handling equipment that it carries having capacities of over 50 tonnes.
“With the size of our workshop and the three overhead cranes, we could handle 12 of the largest excavators Kobelco makes at one time,” said LiftRite Sales Director, Jack Przytula.
The support isn’t just in the facilities, Jack is proud that around 60 percent of the LiftRite staff is involved in service and support, and there are 12 service vehicles in the fleet.
Technicians and sales staff will be undergoing training in Kobelco equipment, including the new Kobelco Generation 10 excavators. General Manager – Sales and Service for Kobelco, Doug McQuinn, says the Western Australian market is bouncing back, and looks forward to taking this next step with LiftRite.
“Kobelco is proud to be partnering with LiftRite as they build their presence in the excavator market. With a reputation in Western Australia for outstanding service and reliability, it’s a natural partnership fit for both Kobelco and LiftRite,” says McQuinn.

Centurion wins BHP freight contract

BHP has awarded a five-year freight contract to transport and logistics supplier Centurion, which will cover BHP Billiton’s Nickel West sites, according to the The West Australian.

The contract comes as BHP is looking to restart development at the northern Goldfields where it has nickel deposits. Nickel West also has plant in Kwinana, Kambalda and Kalgoorlie that will need logistics support.

Owned by the Cardaci family, Centurion’s Kalgoorlie and Perth Airport distribution centres will be the hubs of the new business.
“We already have existing clients in the area and this new contract will help us grow the local business by putting on additional services to and from Perth,” says Centurion executive general manager Justin Cardaci.
Cardaci says that part of their current focus has been to grow its business organically in Western Australia as it claims to have “the most extensive logistics network in the State.

Road trains on the outer as EPA approves skyrail in Pilbara

Transporting iron ore across the Pilbara via skyrail has been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The Bulk Ore Transportation System, or BOTS, will transport iron ore from the Iron Valley Project to Port Headland.
Designed to replace road trains, the skyrail will be mounted onto concrete beams, which in turn are spanned between precast concrete substructures. The carts/wagons will be powered by diesel and petrol.
All aspects of the project, including supporting infrastructure, will be monitored from a Perth-based control centre.
Four environmental factors were taken into consideration when the approval was given including flora and vegetation and terrestrial fauna. Also, there will be a decrease in the use of road trains, which is claimed to have a positive affect on the environment.

60m road train launched in Perth

WA-owned heavy road transport equipment manufacturer Bruce Rock Engineering (BRE) unveiled its latest 60m road train during the opening of its new workshop in Perth.
The BRE Super Quad road train is expected to provide cost effectiveness to the mining sector, helping reduce heavy vehicle road traffic and the impact on roads in the state.
The new facility, located in Forrestfield, is one hectare in size, with a 2700 square metre workshop, and 350 square metres of administration offices. All design, manufacture, and construction will be conducted in-house.
Secretary to the WA minister for Agriculture, Food, and Transport, Jim Chown, applauded the company’s ability to grow nationally while continuing to retain its manufacturing capabilities in this state.
“This new Forrestfield facility is strategically located right in the heart of a transport and logistics hub and on the road train route to the north of this state and to the east coast, further strengthening our state’s capability to deliver cost and time efficiently,” he said.
During the opening, BRE managing director Damion Verhoogt also announced the company’s merger with fabrication company Transbeam Industries, saying it will increase their manufacturing capacity to nearly 50 per cent.

Port Hedland braces for Cyclone Stan

The Pilbara coastline is under threat from a potential category 2 cyclone, likely to hit WA shores with gusts of up to 150 kilometres per hour sometime on Friday night or Saturday morning.

Yesterday the Pilbara Ports Authority evacuated inner and outer anchorages at the Port of Port Hedland.

The Port of Dampier evacuated outer anchorages last night, and the Port of Ashburton will remain open as the Pilbara Ports Authority monitors weather conditions.

This is the first tropical cyclone of the season seen in Australia.To be named Stan, the tropical cyclone was located 325km north-northwest of Port Hedland and 355km north of Karratha at 6:04am AWST, and travelling south-southwest at 12km/h.

The present low pressure zone is expected to become a tropical cyclone today as it continues to track south and in towards Port Hedland.

The WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services has issued a yellow alert to coastal communities, with warnings to be prepared for red alert conditions.

BHP released a statement yesterday highlighting the importance of safety as the cyclone approached, while normal operations continue.

“BHP Billiton Iron Ore continues to closely monitor the situation as the Tropical Low approaches the Pilbara coast. The safety of our teams is the highest priority,” the company said.

“We are working with the Pilbara Ports Authority to clear the inner harbour as directed and preparations are underway in relation to tie-down of outflow equipment.

“Normal operations are continuing for the remainder of port and rail infrastructure, with workforce planning being reviewed and measures in place should site evacuation be necessary.”

BHP is expected to release another detailed statement later today.

Atlas Iron worried about Utah Point privatisation

Plans to sell the Utah Point shipping terminal at Port Hedland could result in higher fees and put smaller operators at risk, according to Atlas Iron managing director David Flanagan.

Speaking with the West Australian at the Atlas Iron annual meeting yesterday, Flanagan said privatisation of the Utah Point facility would not raise enough cash to assist with debt reduction and make the sale worthwhile.

“I think it’s actually worth much more to the Government if the juniors are filling it with ore and it’s been run cost-effectively and we’re all paying that dividend to the State Government,” he said.

“If someone pays $1 billion for it and they want to make a 5 per cent rate of return, they’ve got to double the charges to the juniors.”

“That will drive us out of business. We would close tomorrow.

“So if you can only pay $150 million for it to then make a rate of return, it’s not worth selling, the Government should keep it.”

In parliament of Thursday acting treasurer John Day said due diligence on the sale had assured government of a successful sales outcome, one which would be “in the public interest”.

Flanagan informed shareholders that Atlas had undergone cost-cutting measures over the past year, which included renegotiation of service contracts with contractors McAleese, Maca and Qube Logistics.

The director said Atlas would continue to generate profits with benchmark iron ore prices above $US47 per tonne.

Iron ore is currently selling around $US49.50, leaving margins slim for the WA junior, especially in light of projections of further descent to the $US40 mark.

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