Five year deal puts rice on rails

Media Release
18th June 2002

Five-year deal puts rice on rails

Leading regional rail specialist Freight Australia and one of the country's largest food producers and exporters, SunRice, have signed a landmark new five-year contract that extends a long and successful association. The contract includes provision for a mid-term review, based on performance against clearly established key indicators.

Despite an ongoing working relationship between Leeton, NSW-based SunRice and Freight Australia (and its predecessor V/Line Freight) this is the first contract of such duration and the first to lock in incentives for improved efficiencies by both parties. This will guarantee a more streamlined, cost-effective supply chain for domestic and export rice.

Under the new contract Freight Australia will haul:
· SunRices' containerised exports from the Riverina-Murray area to the port of Melbourne;
· Paddy rice from regional terminals to the Echuca mill (where it is processed and packaged);
· and, in a notable expansion, at least 50% of bulk rice shipped through Victorian ports (mostly Geelong and Melbourne).

To meet and exceed the requirements of the five-year contract Freight Australia has acquired and purpose-modified bulk wagons for rice handling, and also invested in a wagon-washing station at Echuca. The dedicated fleet of wagons and associated facilities ensures SunRice exacting cleanliness, contamination and quality standards for rice handling are rigorously upheld.

SunRice chairman Gerry Lawson said the new contract recognised the long relationship with V/Line Freight and Freight Australia and gives Freight Australia encouragement to pursue the rest of their business.

Freight Australia managing director Marinus van Onselen said he was particularly delighted to have secured SunRises' business in the face of strong competition from other members of the expanding private rail sector.

"The two organisations have been transport partners for many years, but Freight Australia takes nothing for granted and like SunRice, is always looking for ways to do things better," Mr van Onselen said. "This contract also exemplifies Freight Australia's determination to find the right outcomes for our customers and their customers, both here and overseas.

"I'm also very pleased our new deal will mean less trucks on dangerously over-stressed rural roads in two states. This way the whole community wins."

For further information: Marinus van Onselen, (03) 9619 1043.



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