MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted Emerald Grain’s wheat port access undertaking agreement after feedback from industry counterparts, Emerald said on Sept. 26. The new undertaking will be in place from Oct. 1.

“Emerald Grain is in favor of competition at ports and in the Australian grain market. Competition at Australian ports and grain storage facilities means a better return for Australian growers,” said Emerald Grain Group General Manager Supply Chain & Operations John Warda. “Emerald Grain worked closely with the ACCC to develop a port access undertaking, which the industry feels is equitable and makes the Melbourne Port Terminal a viable and attractive export option for grain exporters in Victoria and southern New South Wales.”

In its undertaking Emerald Grain addressed ACCC concerns on target percentage of grain to be transported to port by rail. Emerald Grain also clarified that customer agreement is required for stock swaps and has made clear that the indicative access agreement applies only to port services for bulk wheat exports, in line with the legislation.

The Melbourne Port Terminal is around 12 years old. It was acquired by Emerald Grain last year as part of Emerald’s A$120 million investment into developing an integrated supply chain.

The Melbourne Port Terminal is a “throughput” terminal, meaning grain is not stored on site for a long period of time — it passes through as vessels load. The site has a capacity of 48,000 tonnes — around the same amount as ships have the capacity to carry. Ships at the terminal load at approximately 1,000 tonnes per hour. The site is linked with freight-advantaged storage sites in Victoria and Southern New South Wales.

It is equipped to receive grain by both road and rail. Emerald has a long-term-lease of two locomotives, which operate throughout Victoria and the Riverina to move grain more efficiently to port. There are plans to add an additional train to the network this year.

In the 2012-13 financial year, a record 1.4 million tonnes of grain passed through the Melbourne Port Terminal. This was due in part to a high utilization of its rail facilities, which are more efficient than road. Exports included around 1.3 million tonnes of bulk shipments of wheat, barley, canola and corn and 100,000 tonnes of containerized grain.

The grain was shipped to 17 countries throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific. A record number of ships berthed at the terminal this year too, with 47 vessels loading an average of 27,000 tonnes each.