Rail Growth Hits New High

Traffic over that part of the interstate rail network controlled by Australian Rail Track Corporation continues to grow at rates in excess of national economic growth. March 2004 saw a total of 2.81 billion GTKs carried over of the network, the highest monthly volume ever.

For the first time, during March 2004, in excess of 2.8 billion gross tonne kilometres (GTK) was moved over the network in one month. What makes this even more remarkable is that this occurred during what is traditionally one of the quieter times of the year for rail traffic.

Total GTKs for March 2004 were 2.81 billion GTKs, representing an increase of 8.9% on the March 2003 figure of 2.58 billion GTK.

This trend was apparent throughout the March quarter with a healthy 6.66% increase in GTK over the March 2003 quarter and up 15.83% on the March 2002 quarter.

The bulk of the upsurge in traffic is coming from continued strong growth in domestic interstate freight volumes. While the effects of the 2002 drought have now largely been mitigated and grain movements have increased significantly, considerable tonnages from the strong 2003 harvest still remain to be railed to export terminals.

ARTC Managing Director David Marchant said, “These figures are doubly pleasing. Increases in traffic volumes continue to outstrip national economic growth rates and are in line with our strategy of increasing rail’s market share of the national land transport freight task.”

“As well as the recovery from the effects of the 2002 drought, we are also seeing a strong increase in interstate traffic and also contributions from new customers such as the regional intermodal terminal at Bowmans in South Australia.”

David Marchant concluded by saying, “The encouraging growth in traffic levels is matched by the continuing high performance of rail on the East West corridor. Rail’s market share of the land transport freight task on this corridor has remained above 80% for much of the last two years.”

“With the ARTC lease of the New South Wales interstate track later this year and subsequent $870 million infrastructure investment program, we believe that rail can increase its market share on the under-performing North South corridor to at least 30%.”

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