The negotiations follow a recent expressions of interest process and will deliver the next round of rail freight contracts before 2016.
State Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the future freight contracts, held by Aurizon, would be crucial to delivering the government’s targets to get more freight onto rail over the next decade.
“The Liberal National Party has a clear plan to meet the growing freight task, with volumes expected to increase from 871 million tonnes to 1741 million tonnes before 2026,” Emerson said.
“By getting these contracts right we can sustain existing freight volumes on rail and promote rail growth in new areas for agricultural freight to markets.
“We are already delivering on the 38 items from our Moving Freight strategy to get more freight onto rail, including preserving train paths on regional rail lines for agricultural freight and undertaking a prefeasibility study for a new rail freight terminal on the north side of Brisbane.
“In addition to this we are spending $50 million on additional passing loops and $17 million to lower train tunnels enabling the agricultural industry to use larger containers through the Toowoomba Range and Lockyer Valley.
“We have also increased cattle services from Winton to Brisbane and Cloncurry to Brisbane.”
A parliamentary committee is looking at options to incentivise the agricultural and livestock industry to use rail.
The primary freight network is made up of 13,600km of road, 9550km of rail line, 15 trading ports, three international airports as well as multiple domestic airports and freight terminals.