The cooperative has also announced plans to increase capital spending on the storage and handling network to better service Western Australian growers and the grain industry.
General Manager Operations Colin Tutt said while CBH faced labor cost increases of between 5% and 6% and inflation on other expenses of around 4% in 2012-13, the record breaking harvest in 2011-12 has positioned the CBH Group to absorb these increases and avoid passing them on to growers in the coming year.
“CBH is always striving to provide the most efficient and cost effective supply chain for the growers of Western Australia and actions such as keeping the storage and handling fees flat are the best way of demonstrating that,” he said. “Growers have told us that it is the single most important way their co-operative can return value to them.”
Tutt said CBH invests approximately A$85 million annually into capital maintenance and upgrades of the storage and handling network and, in addition to holding fees flat, the record crop has allowed the co-operative to commit a further A$40 million over the next three years.
“The additional commitment will be specifically targeted at improving turnaround times at sites during harvest, one of the other most important ways that growers have told us their co-operative can return value to them,” he said. “This additional investment will enable us to speed up our program to improve sample huts, weighbridges, grids, belts, stackers, elevators and the like at a number of sites across the network aimed at helping growers get through our sites and back to the paddock to get their crop harvested as quickly as possible.”
CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel said maintaining the storage and handling fees for this season meant CBH had kept fees flat in all but one of the past four years despite the high cost environment in Western Australia. Together with the increase in funds dedicated to capital expenditure, this demonstrated the CBH board's commitment to putting growers' interests first.
"We are the only major grain organisation that remains grower-owned and controlled and the priorities of the CBH Group, when compared to other major bulk handlers in Australia that have recently announced increases in their fees for 2012-13, demonstrate that our business decisions are wholly driven by the best long-term interests of growers," Wandel said.
Full details of the storage and handling fee structure for 2012-13 will be provided to growers in coming weeks through the CBH Harvest Handbook.