TransVolution breaks into southeast rail markets


Hauling 8,000 tonnes of grain on a single train? A newly-accredited rail operator says it’s possible

TransVolution breaks into southeast rail markets
TransVolution executive manager Daryl Minter (left) with chief financial officer Aaron Hore

 

A new rail operator is looking to stir up freight markets in New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.

Melbourne-based TransVolution has been granted full accreditation across the three states by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

It is now in talks with potential customers about a range of services and scales.

Executive manager Daryl Minter says the company is aiming to increase the overall market for rail freight in the tri-state region.

"Ask the lay-man on the street, and he will tell you rail is the logical answer to Australia’s growing freight task," he says, listing off economy-wide benefits such as reduced congestion and enhanced road safety.

"All the externalities are in favour of rail, so why is it not yet bursting at the seams?"

TransVolution’s business model focuses, at least in the first instance, on filling in some of the gaps that existing operators have found too difficult to service, including smaller routes on the shrinking broad gauge network in Victoria.

"There’s a lot of market for someone who is willing to work flexibly with the client."

The company has "some" locomotives and wagons, but is able to access a wide range of rolling stock as and when it is required.

Longer term, Minter says TransVolution plans to offer significant flexibility and innovation to freight customers.

For example, he says using specially-designed wagons could increase the maximum haulage of a grain train from 2,500 tonnes to up to 8,000 tonnes.

This is with existing infrastructure and existing regulation, he says.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for governments to help encourage more freight onto rail.

"No one’s denying there hasn’t been underinvestment in rail and a lack of policy vision," Minter says.  

The company is to make a submission to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the planned lease of the Port of Melbourne.

"We’ll be advocating the need for an independent rail terminal there," Minter says.

Transvolution has been two years in the making. Minter – who joined the start-up in June last year – says simply gaining the national accreditation has taken 12 months.

Other staff include CEO Roger Hore, financial officer Aaron Hore, and executive manager of operations Rick Hills, formerly of El Zorro Transport.

The accreditation was formally announced yesterday.

"Now, we have something to sell," Minter says.

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