WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — CBH Group said its first shipment of new rail wagons arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia, on Feb. 9.

The 50 standard gauge aluminum wagons arrived from the Port of Lianyungang in north-eastern China into the Port of Fremantle.

CBH General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said this was a milestone for the CBH Group and for the growers of Western Australia.

"This is one of the most tangible steps yet in growers owning their own fleet of rolling stock. It is the first of many momentous arrivals for us to celebrate this year; 2012 is the year rail will be revitalized in Western Australia," he said. "Having the latest designs and technology, our wagons are going to deliver a great deal of value back to WA growers. The light weight aluminum body allows us to load more grain into each wagon, around 10 tonnes per wagon more capacity than the current steel wagons. This of course means more tonnes to port per train movement and a more efficient rail system for everyone.

"The wagons are also incredibly safer than the ones we use currently; there will be significantly less direct interaction with wagons with the installation of auto hatch and discharge doors as well as scanning technology."

The wagons will be stored locally, ready to undergo final commissioning works ahead of moving out onto the network to pull grain.

This is the first of a number of shipments of wagons planned to arrive between now and July. The next shipment of wagons is not far behind, with an estimated time of arrival set for mid-March.

"We are satisfied with the delivery schedule of the wagons and the quality of the product. These wagons will provide us with far better productivity and safety outcomes than the fleet we have access to under the current above-rail provider," Tutt said.

Last year the CBH Group contracted Bradken to build 574 rail wagons, 446 narrow gauge and 128 standard gauge. Bradken is an Australian company with facilities in Xuzhou, China, where the wagons have been manufactured.