Meat the new cattle rail service provider

Published Tuesday, 07 September, 2021 at 11:15 AM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Watco East West has been selected to operate cattle rail transport services in South West and Central West Queensland from 2022 to 2028 following a competitive procurement process.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said that the contract with the Department of Transport and Main Roads would support cattle transport by rail from central-west and south-west parts of the state.

“Supporting cattle producers and Queensland’s beef industry is an integral part of our COVID-19 economic recovery plan,” Mr Bailey said.

"Transporting cattle on rail reduces wear and tear on our roads and reduces traffic congestion, so a key aim of this contract is to increase the amount of cattle transported by rail services,” Mr Bailey said.

"Queensland has the largest and some of the best beef herds in Australia, and the beef industry is a significant contributor to the state’s economy.

“It’s why the Palaszczuk Government invested $5 million to repair the disused Yeppoon branch line, so cattle trains could travel directly into Rockhampton’s JBS Abattoir.

“More than 10,000 Queenslanders work in the beef industry, and cattle transport is a critical part of its successful operation in a state as large as ours.

“By supporting businesses like Watco to help manage the freight task, we’re sharing the load between road and rail.”

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the new contract would help to ensure efficient logistical arrangements to support the cattle supply chain.

“Agriculture is an essential industry in Queensland and a vital part of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan,” Mr Furner said.

“Partnerships like this one are a key strategic strength of the agricultural industry in Queensland, supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in exports.”

Watco East West Director Chris Hood said “We’re excited to be part of reinvigorating the transport of cattle on rail in the South West and Central West regions through delivering regular, reliable and responsive rail freight services.

"Focussing on our Customer First Foundation Principles, we look forward to working with the industry supply chain and meeting the needs of all stakeholders involved and actively growing the number of cattle trains in the region" Mr Potts said.

The Palaszczuk Government supports the delivery of cattle rail services through Transport Service Contracts. Rail services transport herds of cattle from regional hubs across the State to processing facilities on Queensland’s eastern coast. Procurement for cattle rail services in North West Queensland is ongoing.


Media contact:           Ron Goodman            0427 781 920

Video grabs - Minister Mark Furner and Watco East West Director Chris Hood: