ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA — Grain exports through Viterra's ports in January, February and March topped 2.26 million tonnes, the most shipped in three consecutive months in the history of bulk grain exports from South Australia, the company reported on April 13.

This continues the record shipping program, which has seen 3.8 million tonnes exported from October 2010 to March 2011.

Dean McQueen, Viterra's executive manager grain, said there is a highly competitive market for South Australian grain with a number of active grain exporters.

"Of the 3.8 million tonnes of grain shipped since October, 2.6 million tonnes was owned by grain marketers other than Viterra," McQueen said. "This year, twelve companies have exported wheat from South Australian ports. Just three years ago, there was only one single-desk exporter of bulk wheat."

Since entering the Australian grains industry in 2009, Viterra has made significant infrastructure investment designed to improve the efficient operation of South Australia's export supply chain for the benefit of growers, exporters and destination customers.

"Viterra has invested more than A$35 million during the past eighteen months in storage, transport, logistics and port terminal infrastructure, enhancing export supply chain efficiency and facilitating greater throughput and increased grain exports from South Australia," he said.

"These volume records have been achieved while managing a diverse client base as well as a number of different types and grades of grain. For example, in February we exported the highest number of grain grades in our history."

Following the record harvest, grain is continuing to move through the Viterra storage and handling network at record levels.

"We expect shipments to be very strong over the next few months given the amount of grain in storage, the favorable commodity pricing environment and production issues in other grain growing regions of the world,” McQueen said. "Our current initiative to recruit 200 permanent regional employees will further underpin our operations to execute the shipping program and prepare for next harvest."