Qube sees opportunity in rail expansion

Qube Logistics will focus on growing the rail side of P&O Trans Australia

By Rob McKay | September 29, 2010

Qube Logistics will focus on growing the rail side of P&O Trans Australia and increase its share of the joint venture with DP World to 70 percent, the port services and transport firm confirmed this week in its annual report.

The operation, which is being transformed from a Kaplan Funds Management (KFM) investment vehicle to a corporatised container-focused logistics entity, views increased Port Botany throughput and resultant worsening road congestion as a lucrative medium- to long-term opportunity.

"POTA’s existing rail business has been combined with South Spur Rail Services which was acquired in June 2010 to create Qube Rail, the largest rail operator in Australia focused on the movement of containers to and from ports," KFM Managing Director Sam Kaplan says.

"In a little over 18 months, this rail business has grown from a single service operating with two locomotives in metropolitan Sydney to the current operation of 23 scheduled services operating in four states and utilising around 42 locomotives and 480 wagons."

Kaplan says Qube, which owns about 47.2 percent of POTA, will exercise its option to move to 70 percent "in early calendar 2011".

"The other key objective of the division is to leverage POTA’s position as one of only two industry participants providing a full range of port logistics services on a national basis," he says.

"POTA will continue to invest to provide customers with a reliable and comprehensive service proposition."

Qube confirmed it had $100 million invested in the Minto and Moorebank intermodal hubs, with debt of $48.2 million sunk into Moorebank.

The past financial year had seen Qube’s P&O Automotive and General Stevedoring arm gain $65 million in investment, a proportion of which went on processing and storage for Prixcar Services.

Qube intends to invest $50 million in POAGS’s Utah Point multi-user bulk export facility at Port Hedland.

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