Rail access hike sees CBH lift freight rate

More tortured negotiations in the offing as interim deal remains unsigned

Rail access hike sees CBH lift freight rate
WA grain rail freight rates are going up.


CBH Group is passing on Brookfield Rail’s access charge hikes to its grain growing customers with an average 6 per cent rise for the coming Western Australian harvest season.

Agribusiness CBH has been locked in acrimonious negotiations with rail network manager Brookfield Rail over an interim access agreement.

CBH insists it has done "all it can to manage the increase to rail access costs in uncertain times".

"Brookfield Rail significantly increased their rail access charges in May 2015 by an average of 13 per cent with some line sections increasing by almost 20 per cent," CBH general manager of operations David Capper says.

"Currently in Western Australia, rail-access charges represent close to 50 per cent of the average cost of rail with the remaining charges being the CBH operational costs to physically move the grain using CBH owned rolling stock capital, fuel, train drivers, scheduling and maintenance and road to rail transfers."

The current interim agreement with Brookfield Rail is set to expire on December 31 and an interim deal, let alone a long-term outcome, has been hard to seal.

"The current uncertainty exposes growers to further price increases, despite CBH’s continuous requests to Brookfield Rail to negotiate the next interim agreement," Capper says.

"Freight rates are therefore subject to change before being finalised early next year.

"We will continue to fight for a fair go for WA grain growers.

"We believe that it is not reasonable that Brookfield Rail’s access charges are more than four times those of comparable rail line sections on the east coast and we will continue to do all we can to achieve a reasonable access rate for WA growers."

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