Saturday 20th Apr, 2019

New wagons in for sugar season

Photo: Pacific National

Rail operator Pacific National is utilising new high-capacity wagons to more efficiently transport sugar and molasses, with the major rail freight operator hoping to reap the benefits of this year’s harvest in North Queensland.

Pacific National signed a contract with Wilmar Sugar Australia in mid-2017 for the haulage of sugar to Queensland’s ports, marking the freight operator’s first foray into the state’s sugar sector.

Rail is Wilmar’s preferred method of sugar transportation. Aurizon had previously held the haulage contract with Wilmar, which came to an end in December 2017.

The agreement with Pacific National commenced in June 2018, with the freight operator creating 48 new train driver, operational and administration jobs in the Townsville and Mackay regions to respond to the annual freight task.

The 22-week sugar season, which commenced in June, sees average volumes of 1.4 million tonnes produce transported every year.

Pacific National invested $50 million to build new high-capacity wagons to operate along the Burdekin-Townsville line.

“Pacific National has commissioned 88 new custom-designed bulk wagons and 50 new flat-bed wagons to support the haulage of sugar and molasses on the Burdekin – Townsville line from Wilmar Sugar’s five mills in North Queensland,”

Approximately 25 per cent larger than average, Pacific National hopes these larger-capacity wagons will keep rail in front of road for sugar transportation in the region.