Gladstone Ports Corporation is in discussions with its customers about Aurizon's changes to its rail maintenance work.
Gladstone Ports Corporation is in discussions with its customers about Aurizon's changes to its rail maintenance work. Paul Braven GLA200315COAL

$4 billion in exports on the line after Aurizon's game-changer

GLADSTONE Ports Corporation is exploring ways to mitigate the impact on its coal exports amid ongoing industry concerns after Aurizon slashed its maintenance schedule.

The rail operator cut back its maintenance schedule on the Central Queensland coal network following a draft ruling from the Queensland Competition Authority.

It is expected $4 billion in coal exports would be lost and a potential $500 million a year from coal royalties between now and 2021.

The reduced cost of maintenance is expected to lead to fewer trains able to use the track and the potential loss of about 20 million tonnes of export coal.

Coal mined at sites which use Gladstone Ports Corporation's export facilities is trained to the port city via Aurizon's Blackwater network.

A GPC spokesperson said while Aurizon's decision to change its track maintenance practices had "some impact" on its trade, the impacts have begun to "subside".

They said the company would continue to monitor and work with its customers to mitigate the impacts.

In the 2018 financial year to April, Gladstone Ports Corporation exported 54,479,879 million tonnes of coal to 14 countries.

Meanwhile Queensland coal producers wrote to Aurizon yesterday accusing the company of making a deliberate attempt to negatively impact the coal industry to "create commercial leverage in an attempt to extract higher returns".

Queensland Resource Council chief executive Ian MacFarlane has urged Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to intervene against the "anti-Queensland" and "reckless" moves by Aurizon.

The draft ruling from the QCA has been appealed by Aurizon through a Supreme Court judicial review.



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