I suspect the ACCC's contention that Qube was "interested" may be an exageration, Qube has had plenty of opportunities to establish itself in the Queensland rail market, but has chosen to buy trucks instead of locomotives. And, as Watco demonstrates, you don't have to sit around waiting for Aurizon hand-me-down rollingstock to enter the Queensland market, just get a contract and buy what you need. In the end, my take is that the PN/Aurizon deal would have preserved the existing traffic task on rail, and if anyone else wanted to enter the market they could spend money (like PN has) to do so - there's still forty trains worth of trucks per day on the Bruce Highway.Re QUBE, are their volumes yet sufficient and is their route structure appropriate to warrant purchasing a fleet of locos/wagons? Or were the incumbents (Aurizon and PN) able to capture the tonnages (either naturally through cost advantage, or through hard pricing) and make it hard for QUBE to enter?
Re Watco, they probably have a risk free take or pay contract from GrainCorp which significantly changes the investment decision making process. If they dont have to fight for the volumes, they can invest with far more certainty.