Third quarter brings more bad news for Asciano


Asciano expects further trouble in its motor vehicle transport volumes given the downturn in the automotive sector

Transport infrastructure company Asciano expects further trouble in its motor vehicle transport volumes given the downturn in the automotive sector.

The announcement came at the company’s investor briefing and site tour which took place in Brisbane today.

Asciano auto, bulk and general divisional manager Steven Ford told investors the drop in volumes was also partly offset by "continued high levels of storage."

However Asciano’s bulk rail volumes experienced solid growth, thanks mainly to an increase in grain volumes and bulk. General stevedoring volumes remained ahead of 2008, reflecting improved agricultural commodity flows, however these have slowed in the last three months.

The outlook for the auto, bulk and general division of the company is mixed going into the third quarter, with grain haulage volumes set to continue their growth while Autocare transport and processing volumes will remain negatively impacted.

Asciano’s port sector also looks to be in trouble, with volumes expected to be down on last year with the exception of Port Botany which is expected to continue its growth trend as a result of trans-shipments and the ongoing change in vessel rotations.

Container volumes declined by 13 percent in January and February and can be put down to the decrease in production and volumes, according to Doug Schultz who is the General Manager of container ports for Patrick.

"[Lower] results reflect the impact of softening consumer sentiment and industrial production, together with a rundown of domestic inventories, impacting on volumes," Shultz says.

Shultz says there has been some increase in volumes through the ports during March but he expects market conditions to remain "challenging" in the short-term.

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