Road to rail at Et­ta­mo­gah

The move from Wodonga to trans­port hub a suc­cess

Big Rigs - - NEWS - DAVID VILE con­trib­u­[email protected]­grigs.com.au

SI­T­U­ATED just to the north of Al­bury-Wodonga, the Et­ta­mo­gah Rail Hub stands out on the land­scape, lo­cated ad­ja­cent next to the Hume High­way, with con­tin­ual truck move­ments of con­tain­ers and freight in and out of the fa­cil­ity.

Op­er­ated by Re­gional Con­nect, the rail hub al­lows for seam­less freight tran­si­tion from truck to train and vice versa, with con­nec­tions avail­able Aus­tralia wide.

Kel­lie Rees is the bsi­ness de­vel­op­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tion man­ager for Re­gional Con­nect and was pro­mot­ing the com­pany’s ser­vices at the re­cent Henty Ma­chin­ery Field Days, along with dis­play­ing a range of road trans­port equip­ment the com­pany utilises.

Formerly based out­side Wodonga on the old Cudgewa rail line, the move to the 20ha fa­cil­ity at Et­ta­mo­gah has been a good move.

“We had our first con­tainer move­ment here in 2009 – when the Wodonga by­pass got put through it cut off our rail ac­cess so we looked at re­lo­cat­ing – at the site here we have the rail sid­ing, our ware­house for cross-dock­ing and pal­let stor­age and we have three pad ar­eas here also for fu­ture ware­hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Kel­lie said.

The Re­gional Con­nect trucks work out of the rail hub and ser­vice a wide area, both in bring­ing freight into the hub for on-for­ward­ing on the rail, and also the trans­port of con­tain­ers and pal­letised freight once un­loaded off the train.

“Our trucks ser­vice the lo­cal area – a lot of our freight is within 150km of where we are lo­cated, but the trucks do go back and forth to Mel­bourne. We do have the op­tion avail­able if peo­ple need us to go fur­ther we can do that as well,” Kel­lie said.

Given the na­ture of the busi­ness, a va­ri­ety of trans­port equip­ment is put to use. The com­pany runs a fleet of prime movers along with trail­ers rang­ing from Taut­lin­ers, skels, drop-decks and side load­ers, along with a rigid with a tilt-tray which was built in-house in the work­shop at Et­ta­mo­gah.

“We have the flex­i­bil­ity with op­tions that suit the cus­tomer at their fi­nal des­ti­na­tion. They might need a con­tainer loaded on the ground or if they have a load­ing dock we can use a skel,” she said.

“Our tilt-tray, which our work­shop man­ager built in house, we use for con­tainer trans­port along with farm­ing equip­ment and trac­tors and what-not.”

As the freight move­ment task has grown over the past decade, so too has the Et­ta­mo­gah fa­cil­ity, with equip­ment up­grades al­low­ing greater adapt­abil­ity for cus­tomer re­quire­ments.

“The last cou­ple of years with the in­vest­ment we have made into our truck­ing fleet has ben­e­fit­ted us quite a lot, we can of­fer ad­di­tional ser­vices to the cus­tomer. We can of­fer a to­tal sup­ply chain so­lu­tion and com­ing into the peak sea­son to­wards Christ­mas the in­crease in trucks will start com­ing,” Kel­lie said.

Volvo is the pre­ferred op­tion for the Re­gional Con­nect team, with the trucks all painted in a strik­ing green paint scheme.

“We have had a good run…we do love the Volvos!” she said.

“We have used Volvo’s pretty much our whole time, through the Rees fam­ily his­tory we have al­ways gone with Volvo, we can’t go wrong there! CMV (lo­cal Volvo deal­ers in Wodonga) are a great bunch of guys and they have al­ways looked af­ter us.”

With a staff of seven, truck driv­ing is a small part of be­ing on the job at Et­ta­mo­gah – an em­ployee might be in the truck one day, driv­ing the reach stacker shift­ing con­tain­ers the next and then oper­at­ing the lo­co­mo­tive shunt­ing the train the day af­ter that, with Kel­lie shar­ing some words that ring true that could be ap­plied to any suc­cess­ful trans­port op­er­a­tion.

“We are all multi-skilled and have a good team. If you have a good team be­hind you, you can get in and get the job done, that’s what it’s all about,” she said.

ON DIS­PLAY: The Re­gional Con­nect Volvo Tilt-Tray was on show at Henty this year.

PHO­TOS: DAVID VILE

Kel­lie Rees, of Re­gional Con­nect, with one of the com­pany trucks.

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