Record crops run trains hot

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY -

RECORD wheat and chick­pea yields across Queens­land and New South Wales have driven an in­crease in an­nual grain rail vol­umes to help lo­cal grow­ers meet ex­port de­mand.

Dur­ing 2016, Aur­i­zon trans­ported more than 750,000 tonnes of grain for ex­port, a 32% in­crease on the year prior, boosted by strong ex­port de­mand and favourable sea­sonal con­di­tions in crop­ping re­gions.

In peak grain sea­son, De­cem­ber to May, Aur­i­zon rails 10 grain trains a week in south-west Queens­land, up to seven trains a week in cen­tral Queens­land, and up to four trains a week in New South Wales.

Aur­i­zon’s grain key ac­count man­ager Craig Acutt said Aur­i­zon pri­mar­ily trans­ported wheat, sorghum, chick peas and bar­ley, and was work­ing with cus­tomers to in­crease the tonnes be­ing hauled on rail dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods.

“Favourable spring weather has driven bumper grain yields across Aus­tralia, re­sult­ing in in­creased de­mand for grain trains to haul large crops of wheat and chick­peas to port for ex­port,” Mr Acutt said.

“In north­ern New South Wales, grain grow­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced their largest wheat crop on record, which has sig­nif­i­cantly boosted ex­port de­mands.”

In south­ern Queens­land, highly prof­itable chick­pea crops were the main driver grow­ing de­mand for rail trans­port, with ap­prox­i­mately 95% of Aus­tralia’s chick­peas ex­ported to India and Pak­istan, and vol­umes con­tin­u­ing to grow year on year.

“We have been work­ing closely with cus­tomers to en­sure we meet their large ex­port de­mands,” Mr Acutt said.

“A fully loaded Queens­land grain train car­ries up to 1750 tonnes of grain to ex­port, the same as 44 trucks, and is the most ef­fi­cient way of trans­port­ing grain to port for ex­port.”

In 2016, grain haulage vol­umes from the Roma, Thal­lon and Goondi­windi re­gions were the largest, with the com­pany trans­port­ing pri­mar­ily chick­peas into the Fish­er­man Is­lands and Pinkenba port ter­mi­nals in Brisbane.

While vol­umes in cen­tral Queens­land re­duced slightly on the year prior, ton­nages re­mained strong.

PHOTO: STE­FAN JANNIDES PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

TOP CROPS: A fully-loaded Aur­i­zon grain train rolls through Spring Bluff Sta­tion.

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