The Palaszczuk Government is funding a $1.8 million trial to reduce costs and increase efficiencies for commercial freight users on the Mount Isa Line rail corridor.
KAP MP Robbie Katter has long been critical of the high cost to use the line and now Treasurer Cameron Dick said TransBulk Logistics will carry out a freight coordinator service trial to help unlock new investment and more jobs in the north west.
Mr Dick said that while major resource companies in the north-west are heavy users of the rail line, many smaller mining operators still rely exclusively on road transport.
"We want junior miners and potential new ventures, including in agriculture, to have access to the same efficiencies through freight trains that larger resource companies enjoy," Mr Dick said.
Mr Dick said TransBulk Logistics will use their technology and business model to establish a six-month proof-of-concept logistics coordination trial in the North West Minerals Province.
"This would open up the potential for smaller operators to access rail transport by combining movements, reducing costs and making rail a more cost effective and attractive option," he said.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said higher utilisation rates should then reduce the costs for all users.
"Taking more freight off our roads and onto the Mount Isa Line rail corridor would boost the productivity of our existing rail assets in the north-west and reduce road maintenance costs in the region," Mr Bailey said.
"If this initial trial proves successful, TransBulk Logistics will seek to develop and implement an expanded freight coordination service prototype, providing greater access to export markets for junior miners and primary producers."
Mr Bailey said they had just completed a $49 million upgrade on the Mount Isa line to replace 66,500 steel sleepers with new concrete sleepers, as part of an ongoing $344 million investment in the line.
Queensland Government support for this project will complement the Mount Isa Line Incentive Scheme, part of an $80 million Queensland Government commitment over four years to incentivise more freight on rail on the Mount Isa line and encourage a shift from road to rail.
The objective of the scheme is to make rail freight more competitive, with the intention to provide operational and financial benefit to the customers of rail services. These customers include existing mining operators; however, the scheme is open to new freight, including mining and intermodal services.
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