The growing population in the Far East, combined with rising wheat consumption, low labor costs and the desire to replace old technology with more modern equipment make this region one of the most interesting and lucrative for industrial development, according to companies that serve the worldwide grain and milling industry.
World Grain asked several leading suppliers to describe current or recent projects in the Far East.
GBS Group S.p.A., a milling engineering firm in Padova, Italy, is quite active in the Far East, using exclusive representatives and skilled personnel throughout the region to promote the company and provide customer support or spare parts. GBS trains its agents in Italy before they begin visiting milling plants.
Pietro Barbalarga, the group’s Far East area manager, said this region, particularly southeast Asia, was ripe for new milling and grain projects. "But the need for banking and political stability are essential for continuous and regular modernization," he added.
Barbalarga said most of their quotations for new milling projects were in Vietnam, which has open credit lines from the west and money for new investment. Combined with insufficient flour production and an increase in per capita bread consumption, Vietnam is a key market for investors, Barbalarga said.
GBS Group recently supplied a 500-tonne-per-day flour mill and a 600-tph ship unloader to a customer in Vietnam, he said.
New milling projects are not as forthcoming in other countries in southeast Asia, Barbalarga said. "The Philippines and Indonesia are locked up by unstable political situations," he said. "Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar are afflicted by approximately 10% flour overproduction and by the past economic crises of 1998 and therefore are moving very slowly in plant remodeling."
Despite these problems, GBS Group is supplying a 400-tph multipurpose ship unloader for a private Indonesian company and a 300-tonne flour mill for a company in Malaysia. Both projects will be completed early next year, Barbalarga said.
"Port facilities will became a major need in the future due to the congested and expensive existing ports, but until the economic index starts to rise again, nothing will happen in terms of investment" in much of the Far East, Barbalarga said.
MORE MILLING PROJECTS. In Malaysia, "prestasi" means prestige, a term that describes the brand name and products of the Gold Coin Group, headquartered in Singapore. Gold Coin, a pioneer in the production and distribution of scientifically balanced animal feeds in the Asia Pacific region since 1953, recently expanded into flour milling. Its newest flour mill, the Prestasi flour mill at the new Malaysian west port facility near Kuala Lumpur, is the most modern of the region, according to Gerard McMahon, Gold Coin’s managing director.
Buhler AG, Uzwil, Switzerland, was selected to supply the new flour mill. "Having constructed nine new flour and feed mills over the past five years, the group knew it would be getting outstanding value for its investment," McMahon explained.
Buhler supplied near-infrared quality testing equipment, which allows constant monitoring of ash, moisture, water absorption, starch damage and protein. "This enables Gold Coin to achieve a consistent finished product quality that is essential for achieving complete customer satisfaction," Buhler said.
Ocrim S.p.A., Cremona, Italy, also has been active in new milling projects throughout Asia. Ocrim recently completed a turnkey flour mill for P.T. Berdikari Sari Utama in Ujung Pandang, Indonesia. The project included a 1,500-tonne milling unit, a wheat intake conveying and pre-cleaning system, 56,000-tonne wheat silo and 10,000-tonne flour silo, 20-tph bran pelleting plant and 18,000-tonne bran pelleting silo, 400-tph bran pellet ship loading line and an electrical substation.
In Vietnam, Ocrim is currently erecting a 200-tonne mill for Food and Foodstuff Industries (Foodinco) in Da Nang. Other recent projects in Vietnam included a 160-tonne mill for the Dai Phong Flour Mill in Ho Chi Minh City and a 140- to 150-tonne soft wheat/hard wheat mill for Hiep Luc in the Bin Duong Province.
A specialist in flour treatment and flour improvers, Muehlenchemie GmbH, Ahrensburg, Germany, has responded to the increase in flour consumption and demand in the Far East region by establishing an office, Muehlenchemie Asia, in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The new office will offer testing services, value-added solutions, premixes, and core flour enzymes and ingredients to customers in this region.
Lutz Popper, head of Muehlen-chemie’s research and development, said the company hopes the new affiliate will make the procurement of raw materials easier and more economical for the customer.
GRAIN HANDLING PROJECTS. Some of the first steel grain storage silos in China were provided recently by Chief Industries, Inc., Kearney, Nebraska, U.S. Chief supplied four steel silos with an overall storage capacity of 45,000 tonnes at the Chiwan Wharf Holdings Co., Ltd. port facility in Scenzhen, China.
Chiwan was established in 1980 to receive and export fertilizer. In 1995, the company expanded its business to receive and store grain.
The new steel silos were equipped with Caldwell aeration systems. Chief also supplied three Caldwell conveyors with a capacity of 1,000 tph, three conveyors at 500 tph, bucket elevators with a 500-tph capacity, bulk weighers, temperature monitoring systems and grain level indicators.
Chief also was involved in a recent expansion by Saha Farms Co. Ltd., a poultry production company in Thailand, which built its third feed mill in Thailand’s Lopburi Province.
Chief supplied the grain storage silos for the project, including 10 silos each with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes, as well as a Caldwell "dual H" flush floor aeration system and fans, Caldwell conveyors and bucket elevators, catwalks, support towers, and temperature detection systems.
Galvanized, corrugated steel silos from U.S.-based MFS/York/Stormor were selected by Uni President, Taiwan’s largest food manufacturer and an overseas biotech investor, for a new feed mill project in Vietnam. The elevated hopper-bottom silos each have a capacity near 1,100 tonnes of corn, with a total plant capacity of 6,500 tonnes.
In addition, MFS/York supplied York chain conveyors and related accessories for the raw material storage complex at the feed mill.
Bob Hines of the MFS/York/Stormor regional office in Bangkok, Thailand, was responsible for the supply arrangement with Uni President.
Neuero, with offices in the U.S. and Germany, and BMH Marine of Sweden also have been involved in several new ship loading or unloading projects in this region.
Many of Neuero’s recent projects have been in the Philippines. For General Milling in Cebu, Neuero installed a second 300-tph Multiport mobile unloader. In February, Neuero also installed a GSD 210/160 loader to load soybean meal from flat storage warehouses to coaster vessels.
A new fixed barge unloading facility was completed in July for URC-Continental Milling in Manila. The project included a specially designed suction boom in order to meet environmental restrictions.
In Surabaya, Indonesia, Neuero is currently working with P.T. Bogasari Flour Mills to upgrade an existing 600-tph dual-line unloader. Originally a stationary unloader, the equipment will be converted to a mobile unit.
BMH Marine has been involved in a range of projects for grain, cement, coal and other dry bulk cargoes in the Far East, according to Maj-Lis Hahne, marketing director. "We have supplied four ship unloaders for the Mariveles grain terminal in the Philippines, in operation since 1995," she said.
The unloaders have a total capacity of 700 tph and are used for Panamax-size ships, she said.