A multitude of pressures weigh on Australia’s coal sector
Forward-thinking supply-chain players need to help boost its competitiveness. With the help of National ICT Australia (NICTA), we identify technologies that could be used in Queensland’s coal rail supply chain, building on the country’s world-leading automation experience in remote outdoor locations, and pinpoint innovations that could transform the sector. We also visited class-1 rail operators in North America and spoke to industry contacts. Maximising operational and financial outcomes is more likely when a whole-of-business strategy is pursued, given that some technologies are complementary and can be interdependent.
Potential for material efficiency gains
NICTA created an analytical model to demonstrate the significant opportunity in adding capacity and/or increasing efficiency at current throughput levels with new technology and optimisation and without material new physical infrastructure (track and rolling stock). The latter is more relevant to current market thinking. Increasing payloads to 10-14kt trains could reduce required trips by 15-40%. Reduced headway times could further drive efficiencies.