Eyre Peninsula rail future awaits freight study

A new agreement for transporting grain along Eyre Peninsula’s rail network is awaiting the results of a Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure report, due for government consideration soon.

Viterra and rail operators Genesee and Wyoming have a contract in place for grain to be moved along the Eyre Peninsula rail network, which was extended in August 2017 until March 2019.

A new contract is yet to be finalised and all parties are awaiting the release of a department study which will help determine the future of freight on Eyre Peninsula.

In a statement the department said it was liaising with Genesee and Wyoming and others to ensure recommendations were based on the latest information while recognising the limited time left in the contract.

It said it was expected the outputs of the study would be provided for the government’s consideration shortly.

“This is a complex study with many moving parts, and it is vital that a preferred option for the rail network be robust under a range of potential futures.

“For example, sea port proposals such as Cape Hardy, Lucky Bay, Port Spencer and Decres Bay have continued to evolve.”

Member for Flinders Peter Treloar said at the moment the rail system carried 750,000 tonnes of grain each year, depending on the harvest, and with the majority of grain being exported it would mean greater truck traffic on local roads.

He said he believed the competitive tension existing between road and rail transport benefited farm businesses, particularly on Lower and Eastern Eyre Peninsula. 

“I’m hopeful a solution can be found but it is a commercial negotiation between Genesee and Wyoming and Viterra, the government can only have a limited involvement in that negotiation,” he said.

Viterra said it had been working alongside the government, Genesee and Wyoming and other stakeholders to assist the department in its freight study and would continue to ensure grain was moved to port in an efficient manner.