Tasmania’s state-owned rail company TasRail has awarded a contract to CNR Australia for a new fleet of wagons as part of plans to provide safer and more efficient freight rail services.
TasRail awarded the contract to Chinese-owned CNR Australia, a provider of wagons to the Australian rail industry, after a six-month tender process.
CNR Australia will be responsible for the delivery of 36 ore wagons, 17 coal wagons, 18 cement wagons and 120 intermodal wagons for containerised freight.
The contract value has not been disclosed, but TasRail chief executive officer Damien White said it was substantially less than A$20m.
The first wagon under the order is expected to arrive in mid-2013.
White said with the delivery of the first wagon, the company can start to shift its primary focus away from the rail recovery phase to pursue its strategy to grow the business.
"More freight on rail means less trucks on Tasmanian roads and less greenhouse gas emissions," White said.
TasRail said that two Tasmanian companies have submitted bids for the contract, but the Chinese bid proved to be better value.
"As much as possible, TasRail endeavours to utilise local resources, but balanced against its obligation to prudently invest the finite capital funds available to it for the replacement of above rail assets," said White.
The new wagon fleet will replace the company’s 40-year old fleet that consists of seven different classes and three different capacities.
TasRail said that the new wagon fleet will be more efficient, resulting in improved operating performance, increased capacity, service reliability and quality.