Rail capacity at Port Kembla is "black magic"

Rail capacity at Port Kembla is "black magic", CEO says, so study is underway to understand the port’s capabilities

By Ruza Zivkusic | February 24, 2011

A joint study is underway to identify Port Kembla’s rail capabilities, with the port’s CEO describing the current situation as "black magic".

Dom Figliomeni says has struggled to understand the capability and capacity of the rail network that services the NSW port.

Together with the University of Wollongong, the port is investigating the existing rail network and how it can support future expansion of site.

It also aims to identify potential bottlenecks in the entire coal exporting chain from the mine pit to Port Kembla.

"It really is black magic because no one can tell you what the capacity of the rail network is," Figliomeni says.

"We’ve got two potential coal exporters that want to come through the port. They say can we handle it at the port? All of a sudden we hit the wall."

Figliomeni says there are a lot of planning issues that need to be addressed as part of the study to resolve supply chain constraints.

"It’s much broader than just the port because the port is almost a little microcosm in itself," he says.

"The effect is much outside the port and I think they are the things that need to be addressed in conjunction what is happening at the ports."

He made the comments during his speech at the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) annual forum in Melbourne, where he also highlighted the importance of community support.

He says it has been instrumental during the port’s development.

"The amount of trade-offs we had to do in the port have been few," Figliomeni says.

"One of the things we need to do as part of ALC is addressing some of those communities. Unless you get the community on your side it’s a very difficult task."

Meanwhile, Port of Melbourne CEO Stephen Bradford says the Asia Australia Alliance consortium’s decision to scratch weekly calls at Bell Bay and Fremantle is good news for Melbourne.

The international trade will go through Melbourne from April 24.

"We see that as a strong sing of the future," Bradford says.

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