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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ports expansion hinges on rail freight decision

The new head of TasPorts is awaiting a clearer picture on the future of Tasmania's rail network before committing to an expanded role for the state's ports.

The company that runs the rail freight service, Pacific National, wants $100 million in Commonwealth-state funds for infrastructure improvements to continue its container freight service.

At the same time, Pacific National's parent companies are engaged in a bitter takeover battle.

TasPorts will run the ports of Bell Bay, Devonport, Burnie and Hobart from next year.

Company chief executive Bernie Smith, says it is too early to say whether there will be a role for TasPorts if the rail freight service does shut down.

"We'll keep in contact with the State Government and see what it is that they intend doing about it and whether there's some way that we can assist," he said.

In other developments:
The future of rail freight business Pacific National remains uncertain as the takeover battle between its parent companies becomes increasingly bitter. (Full Story)
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