False saving in loss of trains: manager

OFF THE RAILS: Regal Seeds and Grain's Damian White says QR's decision to remove its rail service at Biloela will place a burden on local roads.
OFF THE RAILS: Regal Seeds and Grain's Damian White says QR's decision to remove its rail service at Biloela will place a burden on local roads.

DAMIEN White looks with dismay at the prospect of more big trucks on local roads every day.

If Queensland Rail closes its Biloela rail service, Regal Seeds and Grain Pty Ltd may have to close down its loose grain loading facility.

This in turn could scuttle four or five jobs and deprive local grain growers of a value-adding service that attracts more money for their produce. But of greatest concern to Mr White, Regal Seeds managing director, is that it will mean moving grain on narrow and inadequate roads. And he wonders at the economy of it.

“QR says it makes a $1.6 million loss on the rail service, but the extra truck tonnages on the road will cause much more damage than that a year,” he said.

Mr White's operations is small compared with some other bulk product movers.

Allan Teys of Teys Brothers, a major Australian meat processor which has an operation in Biloela, is concerned the company would have to use road transport and there aren't the trucks to handle the extra volume of grain.

Mr White said currently there were two trains - one arriving Tuesday and the other on Thursday, each pulling 28 seven-metre containers.

“That means if you sat at the Jambin junction you would see 112 trucks on the rail each week, 56 would be full going to Rockhampton, and 56 coming back empty.

“I estimate there will be 22 extra truck movements on the road a day between here and Rockhampton when the rail service is removed.”

Mr White said there was a good chance he would have to close his loose grain transport facility and five jobs would have to go.

Like Mr Teys, he believes there would not be the trucks to transport by road, at least in the short term, and trucking costs would be at a premium.

At worst, Regal Seeds, which employs 26 people, will have to close. Because it is the only one in the Biloela area registered by AQIS, local growers will not be able to receive the premium prices they get for the value-added grain demanded by overseas countries.

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