Bring it on: QR welcomes coal competition

Queensland Rail 'welcomes' Asciano's raid on the State's lucrative coal haulage market

Queensland Rail has welcomed rival Asciano's raid on the State's lucrative coal haulage market, but warns it will be "fierce competitors" of the southern upstart.

The government-owned rail provider has responded to Asciano's announcement yesterday it has signed long-term contracts with Rio Tinto and Xstrata to haul coal exports from 2010.

The 10-year agreements will see Asciano’s Pacific National move 14 million tonnes of coal every year from the Goonyella and Blackwater systems.

QR CEO Lance Hockridge says the announcement has been a "fair time coming and is not unexpected".

"QR welcomes competition because it is good for customers, good for Queensland and ultimately good for QR," he says.

He says QR will be fierce competitors in its own State by "focussing on providing the best value and service to our customers".

"We feel our customer service delivery is improving every day and we are determined to ensure this improvement continues," he says.

QR is spending $8 billion on a five-year capital investment program to grow its businesses, including coal, bulk and intermodal freight.

It is currently midway through a $3.75 billion upgrade of the Queensland coal network to expand capacity to handle forecast growth in tonnages.

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