Grain export and logistics company Newcastle Agri Terminal (NAT) has arranged and facilitated what is believed to be the longest export grain train in Australian history.
The mega train – measuring 1.25 kilometres and carrying over 5000 tonnes of wheat from northern New South Wales bound for south east Asian markets – is nearly two and a half times the tonnage transported by regular grain trains in New South Wales.
The train was loaded in Moree on Tuesday, 1 December 2015 and reached the Port of Newcastle on Wednesday, 2 December 2015.
NAT executive Director Jock Carter said this milestone demonstrated what was possible through innovation and working collaboratively with industry stakeholders.
“Bigger trains means increased efficiency and lower costs, which equals better returns for growers,” Jock said. “It also frees up capacity for other users of the rail network.”
He said larger trains were increasingly important with growth in the Australian freight task. He called on all levels of government to support innovation in road and rail freight to deliver productivity gains and value to growers across New South Wales.
“As well as upgrades to strategic sections of regional track, road infrastructure and access improvements are needed to streamline the connectivity from farm gate to major rail interchanges.”
He said that the mega train would not have been possible without support from industry and rail operators.
“We commend both ARTC and Port of Newcastle for helping to make this possible. The challenge is to make larger trains a key part of the environment in the future.”
“For example ARTC worked with us to increase the axle load from 20 to 23 tonnes for this train. This may sound small but this translates into a real saving of over $1.30 per tonne. The inland rail upgrade will further increase this to 25 tonnes. This then justifies investment in new, more productive grain wagons which leads to further cost savings.”
He also thanked Louis Dreyfus and NAT shareholder Agrex (a division of Mitsubishi) for committing the exporter support to make this possible.
“These exporters have generally been posting higher prices at up-country sites which demonstrates how larger trains and lower costs translates into higher returns for the farmer.”
NAT is a new player on the grain export front commencing export operations in early 2014. NAT was the brainchild of Jock Carter and Martin MacKay. Jock and Martin grew up on farms in regional NSW and forged successful careers in agriculture before embarking on their vision to promote competition and innovation in the NSW grain industry through the formation of NAT