The team introduced the “Slot Management” solution in August 2013, which has resulted in trains working to specific “slots” from the mine load points. These slots can be shifted and interchanged on an as-needed basis, enabling better response flexibility and maximising rail movements when delays occur.
A majority of trains are now arriving early or within an hour of their planned tipping times at Newcastle’s two terminals.
Throughput loss rates have dropped to unprecedented lows under the system. Whereas yearly losses were averaging at 10% and sometimes peaking at 14%, losses in September 2013 were 4.2% – allowing a new monthly terminal delivery record of 13.448Mt to be set.
Many other delivery records have also been broken under the Slot Management structure, according to HVCCC.
It estimates that the implementation of the system will enable a further 4Mt to be delivered each year. This means delivery of additional export coal with a market value of around $280 million.
“The Slot Management system is a cooperative and common-sense approach that has delivered extraordinary outcomes in a short timeframe, and at no additional cost to the industry,” HVCCC CEO Kirsten Molloy said.
“The early results are a credit to all the individual organisations that have worked together to make the system possible.
“We expect the positive outcomes will be accelerated as time progresses.”
The HVCCC, which has won an a Lloyds List Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry Award, formed the Live Run Integration Team in 2012 as a joint initiative with the region’s seven coal-handling Service Providers – Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Pacific National, Aurizon, Freightliner Australia, Southern Shorthaul Railroad, Port Waratah Coal Services and Newcastle Coal
It includes the physical and virtual co-location of representatives from each organisation to ensure the execution of daily coal movement plans overseen by HVCCC.
The primary aim is to manage disruptions caused by breakdowns and other events, enabling recovery initiatives to be activated and throughput to be maximised.
The team’s specific goal was to address recurring situations of flow-on impacts following train disruption events – problems that often result in congestion, disruption, late terminal arrivals and broad train cancellations off the back of isolated incidents.