WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — Following the record breaking grain harvest of 2011-12, CBH Group said on March 1 that it has broken the record for the most amount of grain shipped in the month of February with more than 1.29 million tonnes departing Western Australian ports for international markets.

The previous record was set in 2004 with 1.174 million tonnes outturned in the month of February.

This brings the total tonnes shipped since Nov. 1, 2011 to Feb. 29, 2012 to 4.18 million tonnes, second only to 2004 when 4.2 million tonnes were shipped.

CBH General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said harvest might be all but finished now, however, the busy times are continuing for the entire CBH team as it works to move the grain to ports to meet exporter demand.

“The 2011-12 harvest has been one of the most challenging on record with rain delays, quality issues and under performing rail resulting in difficulty moving grain to port, but despite this the CBH Group supported by the Western Australian supply chain and Grain Express model were able to overcome the harvest adversities and get the tonnes to port to produce the largest February shipping calendar,” he said. “Our performance in WA compares favorably with Eastern Australia which is facing significant challenges in grain transport. Whilst we faced diverse issues this harvest, our bundled storage, handling and transport service Grain Express enabled efficiencies and provided confidence and reliability for the industry.”

Shipping outturned by Zone for the month of February is as follows (all listed as approximates tonnes):

Geraldton                                                     316,000

Kwinana                                                       555,000

Albany                                                         261,000

Esperance                                                   156,000

Total shipping outturned for the state   1,290,000

In related news, Tutt said the first of CBH’s 22 new locomotives has been built and will arrive in Western Australia by mid-May. The new locomotives are part of a A$175 million investment in revitalizing Western Australia’s ageing rail assets.

Tutt said the fleet includes standard and narrow gauge locomotives, with half the fleet comprising 2700 horsepower engines and the other half 3200 horsepower engines, which is much greater than the current fleet.

Last month the first 50 new wagons arrived in WA with another shipment of wagons due for mid-March.