The arrival of newly-built Aurizon coal wagons can be described as a clear symbol of the continuing growth in coal exports.
In fact in the past 12 years the volume of coal being transported by Aurizon has grown substantially from 180,000 tonnes to 48 million tonnes.
Catherine Baxter, General Manager of Aurizon’s New South Wales Coal operations said the 32 wagons in the consignment are only one part of a 284 wagon order, with each wagon having capacity to carry up to 97.8 tonnes of coal.
“These wagons will enter service for our newest customers, AGL Macquarie and MACH Energy, demonstrating the strong growth we have seen in our New South Wales Coal haulage operations since we started in 2005.
“Our coal haulage has increased from 180,000 tonnes in 2005 to 48 million tonnes in 2017, underlining the broader opportunities in the coal sector for regional employment and income generated in, and for the local community,” said Ms Baxter.
“When we started out in the Hunter Valley, we had less than 10 employees and we now proudly employ more than 450 people across our operations.”
Australian coal exports continue to grow in value, with 2017 exports valued at $56.5 billion or 35 per cent higher than in 2016 as indicated in the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs’ latest trade figures.
“It’s encouraging to see this is the highest ever annual value of Australian coal exports, surpassing the $46.7 billion record that was achieved in 2011 on the back of the Chinese construction boom.
“What’s even more encouraging at a local level is the continued global demand for Hunter Valley coal, with 162 million tonnes of coal exported through the Port of Newcastle in FY2017.
“While Australia’s high-quality coal remains in strong demand in our key markets, these latest trade figures demonstrate that Newcastle and the Hunter Valley sits at the very heart of this demand.
“At Aurizon, we are proud to play our part in providing reliable and safe rail services to support our customers to meet this demand,” she said.