The Australasian Railway Association and Informa would like to thank all speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates who attended the 6th annual Heavy Haul Rail Conference and Exhibition in Mackay at the end of August. The conference, which took place at Mackay Exhibition and Convention Centre, included presentations from operators, port managers, track managers, economists, suppliers, academics and consultants all examining the central theme of ‘Driving Innovation to Deliver Efficiencies’. Mackay was the perfect backdrop for discussion on the future of the heavy haul industry in Australia and attendees from various industry players quickly realised that challenges this economy is posing for their businesses are mirrored industry wide.
Clr Greg Williamson, Mayor of Mackay Regional Council, stopped by to officially open the conference, setting the tone perfectly in telling attendees that “Rail built this country”. He was followed by Danny Broad, CEO of the ARA who gave a great overview of where heavy haul currently sits in Australia. We were then treated to a broader look at the industry and where we sit globally by Adrian Hart from BIS Shrapnel. He sharpened focus for us on the Australian economy, the national construction outlook, the rail construction outlook and the rail maintenance outlook. While some of the stats were difficult to swallow, some were more hopeful and the continued investment in rail infrastructure in Australia is a promising outlook for the industry as a whole. It has to have been the most complete industry roundup presentation I have has the pleasure of attending!
Aurizon and Pacific National gave an insight into their innovation and efficiency strategies as well as a very promising word from Steve Lewis, CEO of North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation who provided a timely reminder that all players in the supply chain need to work together.
The ARTC showcased why Inland Rail is the future for the Australian Freight Industry showcasing its plans for double stack freight transportation and an impressive forecasted top speed on the line when it is complete.
To close out the first day of presentations, we gained some insight into how to deliver efficiency through innovative technology solutions from Speno Rail, System 7 Australia, Biarri Rail and UGL. All of these practical presentations were informative and beneficial to operations.
Maintenance and innovation was the order of the day for day 2 of the agenda. Wheel wear was the central focus of the first two presentations from CQUniversity and the tag team of Roy Hill and Lynx Engineering Consultants. The Roy Hill insights were fascinating for everyone as there are very few people in the industry that have had or will have the opportunity to build a rail road from scratch. The insights Bruce Brymer, Manager for Rolling Stock Maintenance for Roy Hill, had for attendees were brilliant.
ATI Solutions Group examined how industry can realise benefits from investment in condition monitoring and predictive maintenance bafore Dr John Cookson from the Institute of Railway Technology gave an enthusiastic presentation on weld performance in heavy haul. It is a topic Dr Cookson is very passionate about and his want for the industry to move toward the best possible weld practice was certainly evident in his delivery.
SNC Lavalin discussed the topic of Independent Professional Review before Andrew Barger from Queensland Resources Council gave an excellent closing address on some of the key considerations needed to ensure long-term stability of the Queensland Resources Sector.
If you missed out on any of the action, presentations can be viewed on Slideshare.
The conference also offered excellent networking opportunities for all which included the conference dinner at the nearby Clarion Hotel Mackay Marina and a site tour to complete the event hosted by staff at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.
Both Informa and the ARA would like extend a special thanks to our Platinum Sponsor System 7 Austraia, Lanyard Sponsor Marand, Stationary Sponsor Fletcher & Sons and all of our exhibitors. We look forward to planning Heavy Haul Rail 2017!