A new rail freight terminal in Victoria’s north is delivering jobs for locals and exporting Victorian hay to the booming Asian market.
Minister for Ports and Freight, Melissa Horne, officially opened the Qube Ultima Intermodal Terminal on 5 December 2019, which will remove 4,000 truck trips annually from Victorian roads.
Hay from local farms is compressed and loaded into containers at the northern Victorian facility. The containers are then put on a train and taken to the Port of Melbourne for export to Asia.
A $23 million upgrade of the Manangatang freight line has reportedly helped operations.
The upgrade saw sleepers replaced over a 90km section of the line in the Ultima region by V/Line. Track formation was also improved with new ballast which will improve the ride quality for trains.
Two trains a week currently service the Ultima facility, but it is expected that will expand to three or four trains a week.
Qube, Pentarch Agricultural and Pickering Transport invested $3.65 million in the facility which has delivered a jobs boost for the small Mallee town.
Pentarch markets Australian oaten hay, cottonseed and other grain internationally and the new facility will generate millions of dollars in new exports to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.
“Qube is proud to be delivering jobs for the Mallee and taking trucks off the road through our significant $3.65 million joint venture investment in the Ultima Intermodal Terminal," said Qube Managing Director, Maurice James.
“Already two trains a week are using this terminal to provide integrated rail solutions to the intermodal and bulk markets, and we hope to expand this when more local products become available later this summer," he said.
Aerodynamic trucks are not new and manufacturers and operators have been smoothing out the sides of trucks since the 1930s. For a long time Volvo Trucks has been involved in the development of improved aerodynamics in Europe and now the Australian division is making some serious engineering and aerodynamic efforts to explore fuel savings.