The expansion of its independently owned wagon lease fleet by CFCL Australia will bring significant benefits to interstate and regional rail operators. CFCL Australia (CFCLA) is augmenting its existing wagon lease fleet with the purchase of 50 new low-tare high-speed flat wagons, suitable for intermodal container traffic. The new wagon build, valued at over $5 million, will fill the current gap in wagon availability in the Australian market and provide rail operators with greater operational flexibility and a competitive edge.

CFCLA's Managing Director, Fred Sasser said today, "The move by CFCL Australia to establish a dedicated wagon lease fleet is a bold new initiative for the Australian rail market. This is the first time that a specialised wagon lease fleet has been created in Australia, available for either short or long term hire contracts."

"We are providing rail operators with access to an independently owned wagon lease fleet that allows them the flexibility to fulfil fixed term haulage contracts without recourse to high capital expenditure on specialised wagon builds."

In the United States a strong lease market for rolling stock has existed for many years and similar potential exists here in Australia. In the US, wagons are leased for 3 to 5 year periods, though this period can be shorter, allowing customers to commit to a lease term substantially less than the average 25 to 30 year useful life of a wagon. 

The new skeletal container flat wagons have been designed with low deck height, high capacity and high running speed characteristics. The fifty (50) new wagons have a tare weight of just 19.5 tonnes, a deck height of 1020mm, and are capable of carrying a maximum payload of 80 tonnes in up to three standard 20-foot shipping containers. They have been designed for a maximum speed of 115 km/h with an axle loading of up to 25 tonnes to accommodate further increases in standards on the interstate network. After extensive testing they are expected to arrive in Australia during June this year.

Mr Sasser went on to say, "CFCLA's aim is to be at the forefront in supplying new design and refurbished wagons from either overseas or domestic sources on a lease or purchase basis to the Australian rail industry.  We believe that there are enormous opportunities currently on offer as a result of progress in the privatisation of government rail freight operations and through the provision of open access. The emergence of strong, customer focussed regional operators within the industry is also a factor. Given the right policy settings by governments, the rail freight sector is poised for a resurgence."

"Potential growth in the rail freight market has been limited to some degree by the inability of the rail systems and rail equipment manufacturers to provide the necessary capacity in the marketplace."

Mr Sasser concluded by saying, ""With the creation of our independently owned wagon lease fleet, transport and logistics providers will now have greater flexibility and more options when seeking rail based transport solutions. They can acquire equipment without having to shoulder the burden of high start-up costs and will only have to bear the cost of  the term of their hire arrangements. CFCLA carries the risk of future ownership."

CFCL Australia is owned by Chicago Freight Car Leasing (CFCL) of Rosemont, Illinois, USA, which was established in 1928.  In the US, CFCL owns and leases a fleet of over 7,000 covered hopper wagons to Class 1, regional and shortline railways, and to industrial shippers.

CFCL Australia was established in 1997 to provide the lease and supply of rail equipment to the Australian rail industry. CFCLA currently holds $35 million of accredited rail assets including modern refurbished locomotives, re-manufactured rolling stock including 40', 60' and 80' container flats, ballast wagons and permanent way equipment. Several of CFCLA's  'Australian Horsepower' lease-fleet of modern EL class 3000hp locomotives, which  recently underwent major refurbishment, are now in regular use on intermodal services between Melbourne and Sydney.

Media Inquiries to GRMS Media: Mark Carter, Director Tel: 08 8410 0024 or 0408 800 903

Commercial Inquiries to CFCL Australia: Ian Gibbs, Director Tel: 0418 945 810

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