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AgLife: Transport win after Dooen rail hub deal

About 80,000 tonnes of grain in 3000 transport containers will head to port on rail instead of road this harvest after confirmation of a major transport deal involving Wimmera Agricultural Logistics Hub at Dooen.

Transport company SCT Group, developing its presence and capacity at the intermodal hub, has confirmed a new arrangement with Australian Grain Export’s Rupanyup-based subsidiary Wimmera Grain.

The deal means SCT Group will take responsibility of getting Wimmera Grain’s bulk produce to Melbourne. It will use a transport system that instead of placing trucks on busy highways with all other traffic, involves trucking material to the Dooen hub and then sending it on via rail.

SCT Group general manager Matt Eryurek said the deal meant there would be 4500 fewer ‘truck movements’ sharing a busy highway with other motorists a year.

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“The beauty with rail is that it can flex up and down to demand and can move a considerable amount at peak times,” he said.

“I think this is a really good story for rail transport in the region and reflective of the benefit of the State Government’s Mode Shift Incentive Scheme.”

The government invested $3.6-million as part of its 2021-22 State Budget to extend the scheme until June 30, next year.

The scheme is designed to move more freight on rail to reduce pressure on roads and traffic and reduce heavy-vehicle emissions.

Mr Eryurek said while it was always important to consider costs when assessing logistics, efficiently ‘getting the product to market’ was an essential part of the equation.

“It’s all about efficiencies. What it really means, for everyone, is that we’ve taken 4500 truck movements from Horsham, through Ballarat and onto Melbourne off the road and put freight onto rail,” he said.

“That equates to considerable saving for the environment, because using rail is a ‘greener’ alternative, our roads from extra wear and tear, fewer traffic road fatalities and a reduction in noise and congestion.

“Governments have indicated a need to be ‘greener’ and that’s good news for rail transport.”

Mr Eryurek said the success of rail-freight was all about volume.

“Rail is a hungry beast and works best if you can feed it volume. It has an ability to transport large volumes in a short period of time,” he said. 

Mr Eryurek spoke earlier in the year, when SCT announced it would enhance its operational presence at Dooen, about the importance of rail-freight connectivity to and from regional areas.

He again emphasised a need for integration between rail and road freight operations to get the best outcome for all involved.

“There is value for both rail and trucks. But we want trucks to feed freight into the outer hubs rather than competing with the hubs so exporters can get the benefit of rail transport,” he said.

“Trucks remain vital and getting the formula right is about working together.”

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire November 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!