Aurizon has recorded a 3% drop in coal volumes through the first three months of FY2016, with Queensland volumes dipping 1.6mt year-on-year.
September quarter figures from the Queensland-based operator showed little change from the July quarter, with 52.6mt hauled in both the July and September quarters.
But the September 2015 quarter was down 3% on the September 2014 quarter, when coal haulage was 54.2mt.
In Queensland, Aurizon hauled 41.7mt, down 5% from the 43.9mt hauled in the corresponding period last year. Aurizon said the expiry of a 2mtpa contract to haul coal from Anglo’s German Creek mine drove weaker volumes on the Goonyella system, along with “the ramp up in volumes of a third party operator”.
Net tonne kilometres – the metric combining volume and distance hauled – dropped a little less than volume in the September quarter in Queensland.
Aurizon recorded 10.6bn NTKs for Queensland coal, down just 3%. It said this corresponded to the drop in volumes, offset by a slight increase in longer-distance hauls along the Newlands corridor.
Contrasting with its Queensland operations, Aurizon saw a 6% boost in coal volumes year-on-year in New South Wales, recording 10.9mt in the September 2015 quarter.
“[The NSW] increase is largely driven by commencement of the long-term 6.4mtpa Whitehaven contract which commenced on 1st March 2015,” the company explained to the ASX on Tuesday.
NTKs were up 18% in NSW, “reflecting the longer haulage distances associated with the Whitehaven volumes from the Gunnedah Basin,” the company said.
Aurizon’s smaller iron ore business dropped 7% in terms of volumes to 6.3mt in the September quarter, with a corresponding drop in iron ore NTKs of 11% to 2.5bn.
This was due to the cessation of a pair of contracts in August and October 2014, Aurizon said. This was partially offset, however, by “strong railings from existing customers and incremental volumes for [Gindalbie metals’ WA mine] Karara”.