Rail the broken link
Disruptions to coal supply chain to last at least a month.
Wednesday 05 April 2017
Coal exports out of Queensland will be severely affected this quarter as the flooding rains from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie cause major damage to key rail supply lines.
In its first update since undertaking aerial inspections, Aurizon said all lines remain closed and depending on the amount of damage, that won’t change for between 2 and six weeks.
The Goonyella Line which travels through parts of Central Queensland that received more than a metre of rain in the last week is worst affected.
“The Goonyella system was closed to rail traffic on Tuesday the 28th March, and Aerial inspections have been conducted, and a program of works is being assessed and planned,” Aurizon said.
“Road and rail access to the rail corridor is severely limited, especially around the Black Mountain area, west of Sarina, where initial assessments indicate significant landslides have occurred on the rail corridor.
“Further geotechnical assessment of this site will occur. However initial engineering assessment indicates recovery of the rail infrastructure will take approximately five weeks.
“The Newlands system was closed to rail traffic on Tuesday, and initial reports indicate that while there are a significant number of sites with minor damage, there are no reports of major damage. “At this stage, the system is expected to reopen in the next 2-3 weeks.
“The Moura system was closed to rail traffic at 0900hrs on Wednesday, and initial reports indicate some damage to rail infrastructure, and at this stage, the system is expected to reopen in two weeks.”
The Blackwater line which services Gladstone Port is the least affected with coal haulage expected to be back operating as usual by the weekend.
While Aurizon is acknowledging significant supply disruptions, it says it will look to minimise the impact by finding ways to work around the breaks in their coal supply chain.
“Aurizon will examine alternative routing opportunities for impacted customers as other systems become available in the coming weeks,” they said.
“The temporary closure of the coal systems will have a negative impact on FY2017 volumes and earnings.
“However, it is too early to assess whether there will be a change to Aurizon’s FY2017 volume and EBIT guidance.
“As soon as the company has more clarity on the length of system closures and the options available to mitigate the loss of volumes, a further update will be provided.”