Railway network revitalisation

THE Fiji Sugar Corporation will revitalise its 700 kilometres rail network and was inviting tenders for the revitalisation.

FSC’s chief executive officer Graham Clark made the comment while responding to a request from a Nadi farmer for the construction of caged bins for rail carts this season.

Kamlesh Kumar from the Nawaicoba sector said growers who used mechanical harvesters to cut their cane were keen to use the rail system to transport it.

“We would like to see the implementation of caged bins because it is the cheapest mode of cane delivery to the mill,” he said.

“Farmers are looking forward to that because they are using mechanical harvesters and the best mode of delivery is rail for us.

“Farmers costs will go up if the mode of delivery is lorry.

“Cane cut by mechanical harvesters cannot be transported on conventional rail carts.”

Mr Clark said caged bins could be introduced by the end of the season.

“The first thing that struck me when I came to the industry here was the wasted asset that you had in the rail system,” he said.

“So we are pleased to launch an expression of interest already and are looking at international tenders for somebody to come and revive our entire rail system.

Revitalising the entire rail network would require substantial investment, however, Mr Clark has not revealed how the FSC expected to fund the proposed program.

“It’s unfortunately declined in efficiency and as the industry moves towards mechanisation, you’ve got to have that to come alongside.

“As a subset of that, we are already looking to manufacture, on a trial basis, caged bins for the rail system and to test and try them hopefully by the end of this season.”

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