GrainCorp, NSW government partner to initiate rail upgrades

by Holly Demaree
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GrainCorp train
The completed site rail loading times will be reduced by 70% as a result of the upgrade.
 
WEST PERTH AUSTRALIA — GrainCorp has partnered with the Australian New South Wales (NSW) government to deliver a A$4.7 million ($3.5 million) upgrade to a major grain handling facility in Burren Junction, northern NSW.

The completed site rail loading times will be reduced by 70% as a result of the upgrade, which will deliver faster cycle times to port with a freight saving of over A$6 per tonne, GrainCorp said.

“Burren Junction is a large site in the region and is connected to Newcastle port by rail, making it strategically important for both grain growers and grain exporters,” said Neil Johns, GrainCorp’s general manager of storage and logistics. “By partnering with the NSW Government through its Fixing Country Rail program, the rail siding has been upgraded as well as the above rail loading equipment. This combination cuts the train loading time from 13 hours to under four hours, greatly reducing rail freight cost and heavy vehicle movements through local communities. In fact, for every train we use to send grain to port we are removing up to 70 trucks from local roads.”

According to GrainCorp, rail rates from this site are about 20% lower than they were in the 2014-15 season as a result of the investment.

“The opening of this upgraded facility is coming at a perfect time, as northern NSW is enjoying a large harvest,” Johns said. “We look forward to working with the NSW Government, as part of the Fixing Country Rail program, to upgrade regional rail capability across NSW. Having this high-capacity, efficient infrastructure will help us deliver NSW grain to both local and international markets.”

In 2014, GrainCorp announced A$200 million would be spent to upgrade 13 of its country sites. The investment in the Burren Junction site is part of GrainCorp’s Project Regeneration initiative, which involves developing a network of high-capacity grain receival sites to support an efficient rail network.

In August, Australia’s NSW government announced it will provide up to A$6 million funding from its Fixing the Country Rail program to GrainCorp for rail upgrades. The program funds rail infrastructure enhancement projects that eliminate connectivity constraints on the NSW regional rail network and reduce the cost to market for regional businesses.

The funding allowed GrainCorp to upgrade the Tocumwal site and Burren Junction and will allow the company to upgrade grain rail sidings in Barellan (up to A$1.5 million) and Hillston (up to A$3 million).

On Nov. 3 GrainCorp’s Tocumwal site was relaunched as part of the regeneration project. As part of the A$3 million upgrade of Tocumwal, the rail siding was extended from a 10-wagon 150 meter siding to a full 40-wagon unit train (640 meter) siding. The traffic flow of the site also was substantially redesigned – improving turnaround times. The site has a 120,000 tonne capacity. 
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