A WORLD of opportunity opened for farmers and agribusinesses in southern NSW as the first freight train left Wodonga’s brand spanking new logics terminal last Thursday.
The train, which left its newly concreted platform with great fanfare, marked the beginning of weekly services from Wodonga in northern Victoria to Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. From January 2017, trains will also run to Brisbane.
The border town’s new facility is the result of an $18 million investment by Melbourne-based multimodal logistics and transport company SCT Logistics.
SCT’s chief executive Glenn Smith said the services would benefit grain, cotton and meat producers as well as stockfeed wholesales and wine makers.
“We’re eager to work with the agriculture sector and local road carriers in the region to make the most of our rail services,” Mr Smith said.
The new site offers local and national customers domestic and interstate rail line haul services, rail port shuttle services to the Port of Melbourne and import/export container handling. In the future it will offer warehousing and property solutions.
Mr Smith said Wodonga was the perfect spot to invest.
“Out of the region today a large volume of freight travels to Western Australia on our rail services ex Melbourne. Prior to us commencing in Wodonga this freight was transported to Melbourne by road, now we load the rail vans in Wodonga and they are not touched again until they reach Perth,” he said.
“We also believe that our rail services will be of benefit to customers in the region for freight travelling to South Australia and Queensland.
“While the North South corridor continues to be dominated by the road industry, we’re confident that our approach to this particular market, complemented by SCT’s unique rail model, will allow us to provide a strong value proposition to the market.”
The investment will prove an employment win for the township of Wodonga, too.
“When the terminal is fully up and firing we’d expect to be employing an additional 70 personnel with truck drivers, forklift drivers and warehouse staff – most of whom would be local.”
The terminal will be officially open in January 2017 to coincide with the opening of SCT’s new $35m site in Bromelton, Queensland. Freight trains will run between the two sites.
Mr Smith is the son of Peter Smith, who established the company in 1974. Peter’s son Glenn is also involved in the business, which today has a base in every capital city plus multiple regional towns with major agriculture and manufacturing industries. SCT’s only rail terminal in NSW is in Parkes.