BULK handler and port operator Viterra, responsible for the movement of virtually all of South Australia’s bulk grain exports, says it is pleased with the way the SA export program has run this year.
South Australia enjoyed a record-breaking harvest of 11.2 million tonnes of all grain for the 2016-17 season according to data from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
This figure was 7.6pc higher than the previous record of 10.4mt, meaning Viterra faced a tough challenge to move all the grain in a timely fashion.
However, Jonathan Wilson, Viterra general manager of logistics and commercial relations, said the company was out-turning grain at a record rate.
The company’s December-May export figures showed 4.8mt of grain had been outloaded to May 31, equalling records set in 2011-12, the previous record year for SA grain production.
There are still significant tonnages to roll out of Viterra’s ports, with strong demand for grain from key trading partners showing no sign of waning, with Australian grain competitively priced on the world stage.
Mr Wilson said Viterra’s focus on making efficiency gains had allowed it to cope with the massive volumes of grain.
He said vessel wait times from arrival to start of loading had been cut to just 3.7 days on average, primarily through processing grain throughout the company’s upcountry network more effectively.
“The short waiting times have been made possible by efficiency gains achieved through the company’s rail and road outturn program and working closely with our logistics partners and export clients.
At port, he said Viterra had refined its shipping protocols to provide for the efficiency of the supply chain.
He said feedback from exporters had been positive.
“These efficiency gains have benefitted the industry by minimising vessel hire cost and allowing exporters confidence in the ability to meet their contractual obligations.”