Coal volumes of 51.2 million tonnes represent a 3% (1.4 million tonnes) decline in comparison with the same quarter of last year. In Queensland 39.7 million tonnes of coal was moved during the quarter representing a 5% (2 million tonnes) decrease compared with last year, with volumes lower in the Newlands, Moura, and Blackwater corridors.

In the New South Wales Hunter Valley volumes increased 6% (0.6 million tonnes) to 11.5 million tonnes driven by the ramping up of volumes for Whitehaven Coal and commencement of a short term contract with Glencore. Net tonne kilometres in the Hunter increased 10%, reflecting the longer haulage distances associated with the Whitehaven volumes from the Gunnedah Basin.

During the quarter, Aurizon announced a long term agreement with AGL Macquarie for haulage to the Bayswater and Liddell Power Stations in the Hunter Valley, which was previously handled by Pacific National, and represent 8.7 million tonnes per annum. The contract will commence in July 2017 and run until December 2025.

Total tonnage forecast for coal traffic in the 2017 financial year remains at 200‐212 million tonnes.

Other freight volumes were also down by 10%, or 1.2 million tonnes, to 10.2 million tonnes although within that, intermodal business increased 2% with stronger interstate performance following commencement of a new contract with K&S Freighters in late August, and stronger volumes on the North - South and East - West interstate corridors.

Aurizon has announced that its inaugural chief executive Mr Lance Hockridge, who oversaw the company’s transition from public to private ownership in 2010, will leave in early December and be replaced by former Rio Tinto executive Mr Andrew Harding.