Record grain shipments from South Australia ports

by June 24, 2011
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ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA — A record shipping program has seen more grain exported from South Australian ports in the past six months than is normally exported in a year, with more than 4.3 million tonnes of grain shipped between December 2010 and May 2011, Viterra said on June 23. The average annual grain export task from South Australia, during the past 10 years, is 4.3 million tonnes.

There is a highly competitive market for South Australian grain with a number of active grain exporters. Fourteen exporters have accounted for the record shipments during this six month period, and more than two thirds of this grain was shipped by exporters other than Viterra. Just three years ago, there was only one single-desk exporter of bulk wheat.

Rob Gordon, Viterra's president South East Asia, said the result highlighted the strength of the South Australian grains industry.

"Since harvest began last year, the shipping program has been very strong with records continuing to be broken," he said. "Even during harvest we were shipping large amounts of grain, which is noteworthy considering the sheer size of the crop coupled with the unseasonal wet weather late last year."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) wheat export summary in May 2011, wheat exports out of South Australia were up by more than 100% for December 2010, January and February 2011. Strong grain exports continued from South Australian ports during March, April and May.

"This is indicative of an efficient shipping program and effective shipping stem management which benefits both exporters and growers,” Gordon said. "In May, 32 vessels shipped grain from our ports, and Outer Harbor, our newest port terminal, achieved a new record. Meanwhile, exports from Port Lincoln were the second highest on record in May.

"We have also been working to facilitate movement of the expected crop for next season.

"We look forward to gaining greater certainty for the coming season once our access undertaking is approved by the ACCC, providing clarity for growers and exporters alike," Gordon said.

Viterra expects shipments from South Australia to remain strong given the significant crop in storage, the favorable commodity pricing environment and strong demand.
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