Improving the profitability & sustainability of Esperance port zone grain growers

The South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA) has developed this project to investigate if a containerised grain trade through the port could profit the region or be a pipe dream.

It is driven by the opportunity to utilise a container crane at the Esperance Port, which was originally installed to service the defunct BHP Ravensthorpe Nickel Project and a newly deregulated grain market.

Project Outcome

SEPWA's aim is to "improve profitability and sustainability of Esperance Port Zone grain growers" and SEPWA sees a container trade as a realistic proposition only if it is a cost competitive shipping path which will also provide access to additional markets for the regions agricultural produce.

It is only with this foundation that container trade would precede and SEPWA is involved in this project as a means of gathering information which could facilitate this economic development in the future.

Project Summary

The first part of the project will identify if Esperance can fit in with the container trade logistically, what is needed to underpin a containerised grain trade and most importantly the costs associated with the trade and how it compares to bulk exports.

If containers appear to be economically viable, it will then progress to the second stage which will assemble relevant information for industry stakeholders in an attempt to initiate grain container trade from the region.

The project's findings will be extended to all stakeholders and key market players will also be alerted as to potential opportunities. SEPWA has no plans to become involved in grain marketing but is undertaking the project to help further develop the grains industry and facilitate the marketing of grain to end users and promote Esperance grain for the benefit of grain growers in the region.

The project will commence in August with the first stage expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Project Funders

This project is funded through the state government's "Royalties for Regions" regional grants scheme, which is administered by the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission (GEDC). The project is also financially supported by the local farmer group PASE, the Pulse Association of the South East, who markets the region's field peas.

Project Background

The combination of market place deregulation, the regions grain productivity and the presence of the container crane has led SEPWA to develop this project.

Container trade of grain has demonstrated significant premiums in recent years however Esperance growers are essentially shut out of this market by the $40/ton freight rate of trucking grain to Perth.

Smaller export parcels means that alternative crop production can take place, an immediate example of this is mustard seed production in the lower rainfall environment or export canola stubble for paper pulp production.

Grain is not the only commodity which could benefit from a regular container shipping service in the region. Shark Lake food group currently trucks refrigerated containers from and to Perth to service their business's exports. Once commenced, container trade would attract further industries to both import and export via the Esperance Port.

Further Information

Contact SEPWA Project Officer, Nigel Metz on 9083 1115 for further information or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..