SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — GrainCorp said on May 11 that it is investing A$60 million to upgrade 13 country sites this year. The investment is part of the A$200-million, three-year Project Regeneration announced last June.

The project involves developing a network of more than 50 high-capacity country sites to support an efficient rail operation. This will reduce rail costs by A$5 per tonne, and return up to 1 million tonnes of grain to rail, GrainCorp said.

The work at each site falls broadly into four categories: new country sites with new high-speed over-rail loaders; new high-speed over-rail loaders at existing sites; upgrades to existing rail loading infrastructure; and capacity expansion.

The 13 country sites to receive upgrades this year include:

• New country sites: Yamala, near Emerald in Queensland and Calleen, near Ungarie in New South Wales.
• New over-rail loading equipment: Nevertire and Ardlethan in New South Wales.
• Upgrade to existing infrastructure: Narrabri, Burren Junction, Spring Ridge and Junee in New South Wales; Oaklands and Tocumwal in New South Wales, on Victoria rail network; Rainbow and Murrayville in Victoria.
• Capacity expansion: Red Bend and Ardlethan in New South Sales.

GrainCorp Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mark Palmquist said the work would be staged for the receival of the winter crop this year and the rail outloading program next year. Work will start this month with benefits beginning to flow to growers this harvest.

“We are very excited about the benefits this investment will deliver to growers and other customers using our network,” Palmquist said. “Reduced complexity, faster rail loading times and shorter train cycle times will increase the volume of grain transported by rail and reduce supply chain costs, which translates to improved grower returns.

“We continue to work closely with governments to encourage complementary investment in government-owned rail sidings. In particular, we pay tribute to the New South Wales government’s focus on increasing grain rail freight and their A$400 million Fixing Country Rail commitment. Without the NSW government’s investment to extend sidings at Ardlethan and Nevertire, our investment to upgrade those two sites would not have been possible.

“We’ve also been encouraged by the positive engagement we’ve had with the Victorian and Queensland governments.”

Announcements on the Project Regeneration work program for future years will be made as the project develops and in association with government co-investment in rail sidings.