Old coal wagons could offer bottleneck relief

DISUSED coal wagons spattered across the Queensland rail network could help ease the bottlenecks at the state’s ports, and as coal producers face production and job cuts, they are calling for the wagons to be put back into service.

Staff Reporter

Ongoing shipping queues at Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal are costing coal producers millions in demurrage fees, which they hold Queensland Rail partly responsible for, the Australian reported yesterday.

A group of Queensland coal companies have urged QR to urgently investigate using the hundreds of disused wagons, which could be hauling 9 million tonnes of coking coal a year onto ships at the port.

“It is something we believe could be initiated and started within 10 weeks. The view of QR seems to be that the wagons would be too expensive to put back into service, but we should be looking at the value to the whole economy – an extra $1 billion a year in revenues," Foxleigh Mining head Paul Darrouzet told the Australian.

QR acting chief executive Stephen Cantwell told the paper that the proposal to use the idle wagons would be examined but said it would be a very high-cost operation because of the age and condition of the wagons.

“To suggest that we are not focused on getting as much coal through the system is simply untrue," he told the paper.

“More tonnages mean more revenue for QR as well as the coal companies."

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