ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA — Free Eyre Ltd. and Sea Transport Corp. on Oct. 28 unveiled plans to build an A$80 million bulk commodity transshipping terminal at Lucky Bay port on the Eyre Peninsula’s upper east coast.

The two companies have created a joint venture company, Spencer Gulf Trust, which will combine Sea Transport’s transshipping technology with Free Eyre’s grain grower shareholders and clients.

“Financial modeling suggests that when compared to the incumbent charging regime, savings will average between A$10-$19/ton (depending upon grower’s freight costs to port) in the Lucky Bay catchment zone,” the companies said. “Over the past 10 years, an average of 1 million tonnes of grain has been produced within this catchment zone.”

The companies also have their sights set on a second facility to be built in Wallaroo that would receive, store and export both grain and fertilizer.

“With the establishment of this enterprise the majority of the South Australian wheat belt will enjoy new competition from the existing monopolistic grain exporting supply chain,” the companies noted.

A portion of the funding for the project is expected to come from a throughput-based equity contribution of approximately A$3 to A$4 a tonne, which the companies said will be part of a user-pay charge for the grain growers who elect to use the facilities.

Construction on the facilities is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017 and be completed in time to receive grain for the 2017 harvest.

Free Eyre Ltd. is owned by 475 farming families from the Eyre Peninsula who produce around 75% of the region’s cereals and legumes. The company was established in 2008, and recently has become an accumulation partner for a number of major Australian and foreign-owned grain exporters on the Eyre and Yorke Peninsula.

Sea Transport Solutions is an Australian-based marine design and project manager in the construction of seafaring vessels.