WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The CBH Group announced on Aug. 19 that its storage and handling charges for 2013-14 will see grower fees reduced due to the introduction of two new rebates under the Grower Patronage Rebate Program.

CBH Group General Manager Operations David Capper said that overall charges were increasing by 3% to reflect rising input costs such as labor and electricity, but the 2013 operations rebate in conjunction with the investment rebate would offset the increase in fees for growers making them lower than last season.

"The CBH Group is committed to managing any increase in charges in a sustainable and transparent manner.  We must be realistic about inflationary and cost pressures on our business as we try to balance this with our aim to keep storage and handling fees as low as we can for growers," he said. "So we are delighted that the rebate program is able to help us to achieve this." 

This year's Grower Patronage Rebate Program includes an Operations Rebate of A85¢ per tonne, made feasible from favorable state tax rulings in 2013 that recognized the contribution CBH makes as a cooperative to the development of the Australian agricultural industry. 

This is in addition to the Investment Rebate which was announced earlier this year with a rebate of A60¢ to A90¢ per tonne, made possible by the returns from the investment in the Asian Interflour mills.

The final amount of the investment rebate will be determined by the middle of September once the harvest size is more certain.

"The total storage and handling costs for 2013-14 will be A$29.30, but once the two rebates are deducted the fees will be between A$27.55 and A$27.85 per tonne based on wheat transported through the Grain Express system. Last year storage and handling costs were A$28.45 per tonne," said Capper. 

In addition to the rebates, the CBH Group has restructured its charges.

"We are operating in a changing environment with increased competition and we need to provide an alternative to Grain Express," he said. "The restructure of the charges will allow us to unbundle fees and offer a Grain Express and non-Grain Express option while ensuring that growers and marketers using the Grain Express system will in no way incur additional costs created by the non-Grain Express pathway."