The Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd, or ARTC as it is commonly referred to, was formed to provide a quality platform for operators needing access to the country’s rail network. Since its formation in 1997, ARTC has reportedly spent billions to enhance Australia’s rail network and provide quality management of the system.
Led by Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited John Fullerton, ARTC’s management team is fully vested in making the company an industry leader. Fullerton, with the company since 2011, has held a variety of positions in the rail industry, giving him the breadth of experience needed to successfully direct ARTC’s projects.
ARTC’s network is used to move a range of goods, and is especially important for meeting the needs of coal producers in the Hunter Valley coal chain. The track system also provides rail access for local and longdistance passenger services. To maintain its system, the federal government owned corporation relies on investment funding from the government as well as revenues generated by its operations.
The corporate charter requires ARTC to provide quality access for users, develop and implement a growth strategy to improve efficiency and improve the infrastructure. The corporate charter also requires ARTC to ensure equal and safe access to the system as well as operate the business using sound, proven business strategies.
What Role Does ARTC Play in Australia’s Transportation Picture?
The nation’s growth hinges on transportation. The supply chain for virtually all industries is dependent on cost-effective and efficient movement of goods. That includes raw materials as well as finished goods. Careful attention must be paid to providing timely services for agricultural products and other time-sensitive deliveries.
ARTC sells access to the nation’s rail system to train operators, basing the fees for that access on the equipment’s presence on the lines, the distance the equipment travels, and the gross tonnage of the trains.
Since moving goods by rail is arguably the most costeffective method of transfer, the role of ARTC will almost certainly expand in the future, as growth will require moving increasingly large quantities of goods throughout the country.
Current Key Projects
ARTC reports it is engaged in several projects to improve the system’s infrastructure. The projects include:
The Ballast Rehabilitation Program is designed to improve the track quality and minimize future delays.
The Hunter Valley Strategy defines ARTC’s strategy for providing sufficient capacity to meet both current and future needs of the coal industry.
ARTC’s Inland Rail project is intended to design and construct a new rail link between Brisbane and Melbourne.
The objective of the Advanced Train Management System, or ATMS, is to upgrade the capabilities of the rail industry throughout the country.
While each project has specific goals, the overall intent blends nicely with ARTC’s vision of making rail transportation the number one choice of shippers around Australia.
How Do ARTC’s Core Values Correlate With Those Projects?
When analyzing any organization, reviewers typically examine the published corporate philosophy and compare it to the projects actually enacted. Doing so makes it possible to determine the viability of projects and how they will contribute to the overall good for users. In this case, the question is, will train owners experience real value from the projects and are those projects aligned with the values posited by ARTC?
There are four core values that ARTC operates under:
• No Harm. ARTC states that safety is everything. They also state the people, environment, and communities affected by the organization’s actions should be protected.
• Future Thinking. The projects engaged in should be innovative, not simply meeting the status quo. By refusing to accept current practices as best case, the organization intends to push boundaries and explore new concepts.
• Active Engagement. Rather than being isolated from rail users, employees, and other stakeholders, the company’s management has stated they are committed to being actively involved in day-to-day operations.
• Results. Progress only occurs when organizations pay attention to results. Results-driven organizations learn from their mistakes as well as their successes, and use those lessons to improve the organization.
ARTC appears to be enacting projects that are, indeed, aligned with their published core values. While that cannot guarantee success for all projects, it does suggest the organization is using a proactive, thoughtful approach to future operations rather than simply being reactive.
Do ARTC’s Personnel Policies Support Employee Growth?
ARTC works closely with employees to identify and develop their skills. Through a carefully orchestrated review system, management and employees develop growth plans to enhance skill sets that help achieve both employee and corporate goals.
In a recent move to enhance the company’s profits and provide employment opportunities, CEO John Fullerton announced the company would, in the future, handle infrastructure maintenance in-house. Fullerton states, “This new phase for asset maintenance will put ARTC in greater control of our assets so that we can continue to improve the service we offer our customers.”
Profits and growth are important, but employees are more than simply tools to enhance corporate growth. They are people who need help at different points in their lives. ARTC supports the concept of balance in life by providing assistance programs commonly needed by employees.
How Does ARTC Relate to Communities Its System Serves?
The organization’s track network is extensive, passing through countless communities. The very presence of track provides benefits to the communities, but those same communities are more than simply a source of employees and services or a place to load or off-load freight and passengers.
Good corporate citizens understand there is an assumed duty to pay back those who contribute to the organization’s success. For that reason, ARTC takes its role as a community member seriously, and supports many causes in the communities where it operates.
Of course, those same communities are crucial for ARTC’s future growth. The supply chain needed to service and maintain trackage, as well as the infrastructure necessary for delivering freight to and from embarkation points, is generally dealt with locally.
The symbiotic relationship benefits everyone involved, as the rail service generates countless direct and indirect jobs, and those employees, in turn, support the progress of ARTC.
Are There Guarantees That ARTC Will Meet Its Goals?
While the overall outlook for growth appears good, results are dictated by numerous factors, many of which cannot be controlled by ARTC or any other organization. However, even if, for example, the coal industry should enter a slump, the effect on ARTC should not be catastrophic.
Each of the projects currently in place suggest ARTC is anticipating the potential for growth and taking steps to make sure they are providing the scope of services demanded by train owners. While there is always a potential for setbacks, ARTC seems poised to take advantage of market trends that will benefit the organization and Australia as a whole.