QR National invests in WA growth as it ramps up capacity in Esperance
The $125 million upgrade of facilities and rollingstock in Esperance highlighted QR National’s commitment to invest in Western Australia where it sees continuing and significant growth opportunities, Managing Director & CEO Lance Hockridge said today.
Lance Hockridge was speaking at the official opening of the upgraded Esperance Depot which supports QR National’s local operations including the maintenance of the rail fleet and future growth for iron ore haulage from the Yilgarn.
The significant upgrade of the depot features state-of-the-art improvements, including a new wagon maintenance facility, new locomotive maintenance facility, the installation of a turntable for locomotives, new and upgraded track, a new warehouse and new shunting facilities.
Mr Hockridge says the opening of the upgraded depot indicates rapid and exciting growth for QR National and its principal customer in the region, Cliffs Natural Resources.
“We remain on track to take total iron ore haulage volumes in Western Australia to 30 million tonnes per year by 2014. This will represent a trebling of tonnages since 2010,” he said.
“We’re the largest haulier of iron ore outside the Pilbara region and see the Yilgarn and Mid West regions as great growth opportunities.
“The $125 million commitment in new facilities and rollingstock in Esperance is part of almost $400 million in investment underway or recently completed by QR National in Western Australia.
“Iron ore is a critical part of QR National’s diversification and growth strategy by building on our large-scale coal business in the eastern states.”
Mr Hockridge said QR National remained confident in the long-term, sustained growth in the Australian resources sector including iron ore.
“QR National’s long-term view extends beyond the market volatility impacting short-term demand and commodity pricing,” he said.
“Our optimism also extends from WA’s Yilgarn and Mid West to the Pilbara, where we’re continuing to explore a proposal for new export rail infrastructure into Port Hedland.
“Our work with Atlas Iron and Brockman is progressing on the concept study for an independent multi-party railway in the East Pilbara. We continue to believe this area offers outstanding growth opportunities for all three companies and other independent miners who wish to participate”, he said.
“QR National has been constructing and operating multi-user heavy-haul railways in Queensland for decades and we’re aiming to leverage that capability in building our presence in WA.”
Mr Hockridge said the Esperance upgrade was delivered on time and on budget, allowing QR National to commence improved operations ahead of schedule.
“The project was about growing with our customer Cliffs to support their exports of iron ore through the Port of Esperance and on minimising impacts on the local community,” he said.
“Cliffs and QR National have worked hard to improve supply chain performance. The upgrade was designed to support an increase in production by increasing the capacity of each train not the number of trains. This was key to ensuring impacts on the community were minimised.”
Mr Hockridge was joined on site for today’s opening by local political representative, the Hon. Wendy Duncan, customer Cliffs, project partners, local staff and members of the Esperance community.
Fast facts about QR National in WA
- QR National is one of the largest transport & logistics company in Western Australia and the fastest growing haulier of iron ore outside the Pilbara
- More than 1000 employees in WA operating from 12 regional centres
- Investment of close to $400 million in new trains and new facilities to support growth of our customers and our business
Major customers include:
Alcoa bauxite & aluminia
BHPB Worsley alumina, coal, caustic and lime
Cliffs iron ore
Karara Mining iron ore
Mineral Resources iron ore
Mount Gibson iron ore
BHPB Nickel West nickel, sulphuric acid and mining inputs
Fast facts about QR National in Esperance
- 115 employees across the operations and maintenance who live in Esperance
- One of the largest employers in Esperance
- Of the 115 locally-based and recruited workforce, all have progressed through traineeships to fully qualified rail operators, rollingstock maintenance crew, operations supervisors and locomotive drivers.
- Majority of training is provided by our in-house Technical Trainer and Driver Coordinators
- 20 per week haulage services for Cliffs Natural Resources, 1 service = approx 11,000 tonnes of iron ore product.
- 1 week = 220,000 tonnes of iron delivered to the Esperance Port.
For further details:
Brand & Communications