Agribusiness & Food

Upgraded rail to Broadbent Grain opens

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has welcomed the opening of a 3.5-kilometre section of rail line to the Broadbent Grain facility in Moree.

The recent project reinstated a section of the Moree-Inverell railway line, connecting Broadbent’s Moree receival facilities directly with the ARTC’s network.

Broadbent announced the upgrade in August 2016, saying it had been successful in applying for up to $2 million to finance the project.

The money came from the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Rail pilot program.

Jonathan Vandervoort, ARTC’s executive general manager for the Hunter Valley, said it was good to see new rail infrastructure on the back of a massive grain season.

Vandervoort noted the Port of Newcastle had seen a threefold increase in tonnage and train numbers during the latest harvest, compared to the same time last year.

He said bulk rail loading capabilities in Moree enable a 48-hour cycle to Newcastle, making it one of the most efficient rail loading operations in the Moree region.

“With increased train axle loads now available between the Port and Moree on ARTC’s network, the new connection to Broadbent Grain’s site means heavier, more efficient trains can now run out of the facility,” Vandervoort said.

“That lowers transport costs and puts dollars back in farmer’s pockets.”

New figures from the Port of Newcastle show wheat exports from Newcastle totalled 760,919 tonnes in 2016, up from 356,241 tonnes in 2015 and 294,293 tonnes the year before that.

Meal and grain exports were down slightly, at 235,415 tonnes in 2016, after a 244,063 figure in 2015.

Coal still makes up the majority of trade at the NSW port, however.

Coal exports surged from 158.1mt in 2015, to 161.4mt in 2016, off the back of a monthly record for coal exports 15.9mt in December 2016.

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