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CBH Group opens Request for Proposal process for above rail operations


The CBH Group has commenced a Request for Proposal (RFP) process for our above-rail operations. The current 10-year agreement with incumbent rail operator Watco Australia will expire on 30 April 2022.

Since CBH invested in its own rail fleet in 2011, we have managed to halt inflationary increases in freight costs and hold freight rates flat, delivering tangible value to the grain growers of Western Australia over this time. In the current agreement, Watco has been responsible for the rail logistics planning services including train planning and scheduling, tracking, maintenance, inventory control and crew management.

In commencing the RFP process for a new contract, a number of rail companies, including Watco, have been invited to submit a proposal for the operation, service and maintenance of CBH’s above-rail operations. CBH wholly owns a rail fleet consisting of 28 locomotives and 574 wagons that generally transport grain from upcountry sites to three of our four port terminals (Geraldton, Kwinana and Albany).

Between 2016 and 2020, an average 2,884 trains have arrived at all CBH ports and terminals each year, delivering on average 7.6 million tonnes of grain per year. Rail transport plays a vital part in CBH’s ability to get tonnes to port efficiently with around 60% of tonnes transported by rail to port.

We are committed to managing efficient and effective above-rail operations and working with the State Government and Arc Infrastructure to improve the performance of the below-rail network, to provide growers a low-cost pathway to port while catering for a growing crop size and changing pace of the export program. It is anticipated the RFP process will be completed in the second half of 2021, with the new contract to take effect on 1 May 2022.