According to the latest reports, farmers and miners are struggling to secure train drivers because there is a humungous shortage at present. This is affecting the state’s reputation as a reliable supplier of wheat and other grains to hungry export markets. It is being reported that the mining companies are approaching train drivers even before the rail providers. This shortage is mainly due to the active growing season. It is also an indicator that this season may break records when it comes to producing wheat, barley and other grains.
In order to sort this issue, the CBH is currently in talks with the West Australian farmers regarding this year’s shipping program. It seems that the shipping rate is falling dangerously behind. Even though there is a shortage, the co-operative is pondering over the addition of 28 extra rail services; that is 28 locomotives and 574 wagons. CBH has also gone on to take additional steps to battle this issue of farmers and miners. This operating body has hit growers with an increasing fee as it looks to build capacity and efficiency into its vast storage and handling and port network. While looking towards the farmer’s future, it has invested $1 billion in the network over the past five years with more to come.
Unfortunately, the flow of farmers in and out of WA has been restricted and that has meant the resource industry has looked within the state for their drivers and that, combined with a very buoyant resources sector with particularly strong pricing for iron ore, has resulted in the demand for drivers increasing, and that has placed pressure on the likes of Watco. Mr Macnamara, who took the reins as acting CEO after the departure of former BHP iron ore boss Jimmy Wilson, said Watco had been proactive in training drivers since arriving in WA but was losing them to the buoyant mining industry.
Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)