Wheat exports from western Australia, the country's top exporter of the grain, are ramping up as grain handler and marketer CBH Group speeds the flow of grain from silos to ports.
Wheat exports from western Australia, the country's top exporter of the grain, are ramping up as grain handler and marketer CBH Group speeds the flow of grain from silos to ports. A CBH spokeswoman said on Monday the group was working to reduce shipping delays by adding trucks and trailers. "We're targeting to move 3 million tonnes from now through to the end of April, so we have really ramped up our accumulation and shipping program," she said.
The increased capacity translates to nearly 1 million tonnes per month compared with up to 700,000 tonnes before the ramp-up.
By last Thursday 2.5 million tonnes of the new crop had been delivered to export terminals for shipping.
Grain ships have faced major delays at western Australian ports as CBH struggled to move grain to ports after the state's harvest of winter crops yielded an estimated 12.3 million tonnes of grain, including 8.9 million tonnes of wheat. Grain trading firms have been in talks with CBH to resolve the problem that arose because too many traders tried to fill orders at the same time.
"If CBH achieves 3 million tonnes by the end of April that would go a long way to solving the problem," said Alick Osborne, a director of the Australian Grain Exporters' Association.
Before adding the vehicles, CBH had told exporters it had the capacity to move up to 700,000 tonnes a month to port, using a combination of rail and road transport.
For the first time in nearly 70 years several traders are selling Australian wheat overseas, after the country freed up its wheat export industry last year.
Previously AWB Ltd had the sole right to market Australian wheat overseas but the former Australian Wheat Board was stripped of its monopoly after being found to have paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime to win wheat sales in Iraq.
AWB now competes with 21 licenced exporters, including trading giants such as Cargill Inc., Louis Dreyfus and Bunge, to get wheat from grain growers to sell overseas.