Townsville overtakes Darwin as Australia's largest live export port

 
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Townsville is set to overtake Darwin as Australia's largest live export port in 2020 with 364,000 cattle shipped in the last calendar year. Early in the development of the live export industry out of Townsville, rail played a siginifcant part with QR running shuttle trains from holding and sale yards in the Bohle and Julago direct to the port and Berth Three in the late 1990s with direct rail to ship loading. QR retained dedicated sets of KWA wagons for this service, the last screw coupled wagons in freight service in Queensland.

Since the demise of these shuttle services in the early 2000s, all live exports to the Townsville Port have been road hauled, loading ships with capacities of up to 13,000-head, with cattle brought in from most of the north, including the Atherton Tablelands and Cloncurry.

Berth Three retains direct rail access and the question of rail returning as transport component is now in play, with Watco now having apparent access to cattle wagons - having picked up 45 KOJX from Cobarra on January 31st.


https://www.beefcentral.com/live-export/australias-largest-cattle-export-port-status-in-2019-goes-down-to-wire/


https://www.northqueenslandregister.com.au/story/6579225/good-morning-vietnam/

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
This is a great pickup @Sulla1 and great news.  The management at Aurizon have really dumped a lot of traffic and Watco might just be the right company to come in and build up a base.  Exciting times.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
This is a great pickup @Sulla1 and great news.  The management at Aurizon have really dumped a lot of traffic and Watco might just be the right company to come in and build up a base.  Exciting times.
bevans
QR Cattletrain services were always (heavily) subsidised and you can see this across the country where no other rail non-govt operator has ever transported livestock in the modern era.

Anyway, the focus should be moving away from live exports, butcher and sell the meat from Australia (which is railed).
  Big J Deputy Commissioner

Location: In Paradise
QR Cattletrain services were always (heavily) subsidised and you can see this across the country where no other rail non-govt operator has ever transported livestock in the modern era.

Anyway, the focus should be moving away from live exports, butcher and sell the meat from Australia (which is railed).
RTT_Rules
True, but Queenslanders prefer less trucks on the road. At least the Government is prepared to subsided. I am sure other states would like that option, but its too late, those assets both rail and fixed are long gone.

If but Queenslander taxpayers don't like then we can vote out the party that supports it. Oh wait both parties support it. So it wont be going anytime soon.

I agree we need to transition from non-valued added exports.

A bit like Iron, rare earths, coal, copper, recyclables etc. So yes I agree with you on that point, but while we don't have the value added industries, then should we ignore that opportunity to export?

I think we are mad not to value add, but this is not new and as a nation we have a very poor record. We are the growers, drillers and hole diggers for many countries in the world that don't have the same resources.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
I think we are mad not to value add.
Big J
In this case I strongly suspect the customer wants live cattle. You either give them that or nothing.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
QR Cattletrain services were always (heavily) subsidised and you can see this across the country where no other rail non-govt operator has ever transported livestock in the modern era.

Anyway, the focus should be moving away from live exports, butcher and sell the meat from Australia (which is railed).
True, but Queenslanders prefer less trucks on the road. At least the Government is prepared to subsided. I am sure other states would like that option, but its too late, those assets both rail and fixed are long gone.

If but Queenslander taxpayers don't like then we can vote out the party that supports it. Oh wait both parties support it. So it wont be going anytime soon.

I agree we need to transition from non-valued added exports.

A bit like Iron, rare earths, coal, copper, recyclables etc. So yes I agree with you on that point, but while we don't have the value added industries, then should we ignore that opportunity to export?

I think we are mad not to value add, but this is not new and as a nation we have a very poor record. We are the growers, drillers and hole diggers for many countries in the world that don't have the same resources.
Big J
Unfortunately Cattle train is a shadow of what it once was with most cattle yards and yards used for other livestock now closed due to both sides of govt working to reduce the ongoing cost of the operation during the '90's and '00's and make it sustainable as well as closing branch lines with only traffic being cattle with exception of Quilpie, for now!  It would appear only the longest rail hauls are still in operation. It would also appear in recent times there has been some investment (with mixed results), hopefully there is more.

NT Rail line was built with a promise to bring back cattle, they haven't. I thought this was actually a fair chance of getting up as the distance is favorable, the line fast and direct to the port, however I suspect double handling of cattle is too time consuming and labour intensive.

Other states could bring back live stock trains if deemed feasible, but they won't even with a  modest subsidy. Many sales yards are still adjacent to rail lines, not all operational and I've even seen some of the loading ramps and run down yards still in place.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland

NT Rail line was built with a promise to bring back cattle, they haven't. I thought this was actually a fair chance of getting up as the distance is favorable, the line fast and direct to the port, however I suspect double handling of cattle is too time consuming and labour intensive.

Other states could bring back live stock trains if deemed feasible, but they won't even with a  modest subsidy. Many sales yards are still adjacent to rail lines, not all operational and I've even seen some of the loading ramps and run down yards still in place.
RTT_Rules
There Is still hope that livestock traffic could return to the NT, with the Darwin livestock quarantine facility located at a very rail friendly location (corner Berrimah Road, Wishart Road and the railway)

livestock resting facilitates would likely be needed at maybe the Surat Plateau area and Tennant Creek, a rail served livestock facility still seems to exist at Roe Creek (South of Alice Springs)

In Victoria, very few livestock facilities exist along active railways, Colac, Sale, Ouyen, Deniliquin (NSW) Is about all I can think of, with many major regional facilities been relocated to out of town/city location (with no consideration for future rail transport)
As for where the livestock end up, there Is probably no meatworks still remaining along an active railway, though a train could deliver livestock to KS Anderson Wharf at Portland for export.
  Sulla1 Chief Commissioner

Ultimately the scale of the transport task has a lot to do with the modal choice - cattle on rail in Queensland, although subsidised, remains a reflection of the distances and size of the state herd. Direct to port road-train access has had a substantial impact too, particularly in North Queensland, where road-trains have been able to beat rail on price, transit time and reliability in recent years - the 20% cut in access fees on the Mt Isa Line may change that. The scale of demand is probably the only thing that has kept rail in play in Queensland and stifled rail use elsewhere - the Northern Territory herd is only one sixth the size of the Queensland herd. However a substantial proportion of the cattle exported through Darwin is originating in Queensland.

Queensland Cattle herd - 12.1-million
NSW Cattle herd - 4.7-million
Victorian Cattle herd - 3.8-million
Northern Territory Cattle herd - 2.1-million
Western Australia Cattle herd - 2.0-million
South Australia Cattle herd - 1.0-million
Tasmania Cattle herd - 0.7-million

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