The multi-million-dollar upgrade was previously announced in December 2015 as part of the Australian government’s National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) and is expected to commence in February 2017.
“This is a major milestone in this project that will allow work to commence on time to ensure we deliver the benefits to the growers and wider region in time for next harvest,” said Nigel Lotz, GrainCorp’s general manager of storage and logistics. “Over the past 12 months we have been carefully planning the project to maximize the efficiency of these upgrades while minimizing disruption to the local community. I am delighted our plans have been fully approved.”
The upgrade is expected to improve train loading times by 80%, allow for a 24-hour turnaround time to port, increase competitiveness for local grain and deliver a A$10 per tonne benefit to growers.
“Now that the Joint Regional Planning Panel has made its determination, council will continue to work closely with GrainCorp to ensure the works can commence on schedule,” said Anthony McMahon, general manager of Hilltops Council. “We, like GrainCorp and our growers across the region, are keen to see this important economic driving project delivers the freight efficiencies identified as quickly as possible.”
This is the latest in a series of upgrades for GrainCorp. In November, GrainCorp partnered with the Australian New South Wales (NSW) government to deliver a A$4.7 million ($3.5 million) upgrade to a major grain handling facility in Burren Junction, northern NSW. The completed site rail loading times will be reduced by 70% as a result of the upgrade, which will deliver faster cycle times to port with a freight saving of over A$6 per tonne, GrainCorp said.
GrainCorp’s Tocumwal site also was relaunched as part of the company’s regeneration project. The A$3 million upgrade included the extension of the rail siding from a 10-wagon, 150 meter siding to a full 40-wagon unit train (640 meter) siding. The traffic flow of the site also was substantially redesigned – improving turnaround times. The site has a 120,000 tonne capacity.