The first shipment of new passenger trains for the Sydney network arrived at Port of Newcastle this week, immediately taking advantage of the port’s direct connections to the New South Wales heavy freight and passenger rail networks. 

General cargo vessel AAL Hong Kong arrived at the port on Sunday (5 July) carrying two Waratah Series 2 trains, each comprising eight carriages. 

The trains were unloaded by crane and placed directly onto the rail before being towed by locomotive to Cardiff, where Downer will prepare them for introduction to the Sydney passenger network. 

The delicate operation, jointly coordinated by Port of Newcastle, Newcastle Stevedores, Downer and Rhenus Logistics, will be replicated again over the next eight months as a further 15 trains – part of Transport NSW’s Sydney Growth Trains Project Stage 2 project – are shipped via Port of Newcastle. 

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said this was yet another example of the organisation providing the most efficient logistics solution, making good use of its superior rail infrastructure connections.  

“Newcastle has a key advantage in being able to unload this type of rolling stock cargo directly onto rail lines immediately next to the ship, without the need for any unnecessary truck movements,” Mr Carmody said. 

“We continue to work closely with customers and service providers across a range of industries to deliver the smoothest and most efficient supply chain for their cargo, particularly where it makes use of the Hunter’s enviable rail network. 

“This type of port trade is consistent with our diversification strategy to broaden the mix of cargo handled and help ensure the Hunter Region’s long-term prosperity. 

“The Sydney Growth Trains project is being delivered by Downer as part of the NSW Government’s $4.3 billion ‘More Trains, More Services program.” 

In late 2018, Downer successfully completed the first stage of the project, delivering 24 new eight-car trains onto Sydney’s passenger rail network. The second stage involves a further 17 trains being added to the network by early 2021.  

Downer CEO Grant Fenn said: “The SGT Project has built very successful and collaborative relationships in regional hubs like Newcastle, and the Port of Newcastle plays a key role in the SGT delivery program. Downer values its operations in regional cities and our role in supporting local economies.”  

Leading global logistics company Rhenus Group coordinated the international ocean and rail freight, while Rhenus Australia worked closely with Downer when the vessel docked at Newcastle this week.  

Mark Harrison, Managing Director of Rhenus Logistics Oceania, said: “Rhenus is privileged to play a part in delivering this project. The complexity of handling such a project across a global pandemic challenges us, but our extensive expertise, strong relationships with partners and the culture within Rhenus ensures we are well placed to meet our customers’ expectations.”  

A spokesperson from Newcastle Stevedores said: “We are delighted to facilitate the discharge and initial consolidation of the second stage of the project. The unique nature of West Basin, with direct under hook access to network connected rail, lends itself perfectly to rolling stock imports. Our team really enjoys the challenges that accompany this style of cargo.” 

The next shipment of trains is due to dock in Port of Newcastle in early August. 

Port of Newcastle

Port of Newcastle is a major Australian trade gateway handling 4,600 ship movements and 171 million tonnes of cargo each year. With its annual trade worth about $25 billion to the New South Wales economy, the Port enables businesses across the state to successfully compete in international markets. With a deepwater shipping channel operating at 50% of its capacity, significant port land available and enviable access to national rail and road infrastructure, Port of Newcastle is positioned to further underpin the prosperity of the Hunter, NSW and Australia. As custodians of the region’s critical asset, Port of Newcastle is diversifying its trade as it strives to create a safe, sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible Port that realises its potential.

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