20 Feb 2018

Sugar season signals start of sweeter future for North Queensland workers

This season’s sugar rush is set to bring more jobs to the Townsville and Mackay regions thanks to a 10 year investment by Australia’s largest freight rail operator, Pacific National, to keep sugar on rail and create 48 new regional train driver jobs.

Pacific National’s new customer agreement with Wilmar Sugar commenced today, delivering 48 new train driver jobs and ensuring local workers are on track to reap more jobs from this year’s sugar harvest.

Pacific National’s Queensland Industry President, Brett Lynch, said the company had invested to build 88 new custom-designed bulk sugar wagons and 50 new flat-bed wagons to support the haulage of sugar and molasses on the Burdekin-Townsville line from five Wilmar Sugar mills in North Queensland.

Pacific National’s new bespoke wagons and crop of new drivers will move the state’s sugar crop from Queensland’s cane-growing regions to the Port of Townsville.

The sugar haulage contract is a new area of business for Pacific National and the new larger capacity wagons will ensure the transportation of sugar and molasses remains on rail rather than moving to road ensuring the sugar industry has a sweet future for years to come in the region.

Key points:

  • In mid-2017 Pacific National signed a new customer agreement with Wilmar Sugar to haul sugar and molasses products from five of the Wilmar Sugar mills in North Queensland.
  • To support this contract Pacific National has created 48 new train driver jobs in the north Queensland region.
  • As part of Pacific Nation’s commitment to this contract and the region, Pacific National has also invested 20,000 hours in training and $50 million including the cost to build 88 new custom-designed bulk sugar wagons and 50 new flat-bed wagons which will operate on the Burdekin-Townsville line.
  • Building the new rail assets also allowed Pacific National to create larger capacity wagons, approximately 25 per cent bigger, to streamline the operations for the customer and create a more efficient rail transport schedule.
  • The bulk sugar wagons and flat bed wagons are, to date, Pacific National’s largest investment in new rollingstock and demonstrate the considerable commitment Pacific National has towards its customer, Wilmar Sugar, and more broadly Queensland industry.
  • The sugar haulage contract is also a new area of business for Pacific National in Queensland and is the second bulk contract in the north Queensland area.
  • The sugar season is for a period of approximately 22 weeks per year commencing in June with annual volumes of 1.4mt with seasonal variance.
  • The increased capacity of these bulk wagons and Pacific National’s commitment to Queensland industry through the purchasing of bespoke wagons has ensured the transportation of sugar and molasses remains on rail rather than moving to road.

Media
Contact

Melinda Hawkins

Head of Corporate Communications

@ melinda_hawkins@pacificnational.com.au

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