We will stay off roads says Asciano boss


New Asciano CEO John Mullen has scotched any thought that the rail and port terminals company might consider entering the trucking market. <br /><br /> Fresh from driving the company’s strategic review, Mullen explained its new vision to the firm’s annual general meeting today – and it explicitly did not include road transport. The company would be the country’s “leading provider of critical logistics services within essential infrastructure-based supply chains”, he says.

By Rob McKay | November 10, 2011

New Asciano CEO John Mullen has scotched any thought that the rail and port terminals company might consider entering the trucking market.

Fresh from driving the company’s strategic review, Mullen explained its new vision to the firm’s annual general meeting today – and it explicitly did not include road transport.

The company would be the country’s "leading provider of critical logistics services within essential infrastructure-based supply chains", he says.

It will work in sectors "where there are significant levels of investment required in critical infrastructure, with resultant high barriers to entry and long-term partnerships type relationships with other significant enterprises as our customers".

To reinforce the point, Mullen used a rhetorical flourish.

"So does that mean we want to go into airports? No, we don’t. Do we want to go into express transport or express trucking or air freight? No, we don’t."

That aside, the company’s express rail arm, PN Rail, will continue to do business with road transport and logistics-focused firms, with Mullen noting that intermodal net tonne kilometres had risen 1 per cent in the first quarter compared with the previous first quarter due to gaining Fosters volumes from Toll and Linfox in mid-August.

"Forwarder volumes general remained soft, however, reflecting lower consumer demand in Australia at the current time," he says.

"However, Express volumes continue to grow and were much stronger than the previous corresponding period."

Steel volumes were also soft but bulk grain export volumes rose and were expected to remain high for the rest of the financial year.

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