CBH upgrades take shape

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
CBH's Broomehill site in June.
Camera IconCBH's Broomehill site in June. Credit: CBH

CBH is midway through its biggest permanent grain-storage upgrades program in history, kickstarting $150 million worth of work at nine sites across its five port zones.

The 800,000-tonne storage upgrade program was announced in February, just weeks after WA’s second-biggest ever harvest wrapped up.

It marks the second phase in a plan to install 1.45 million tonnes of new permanent storage in two years, after 650,000 tonnes were installed ahead of the last harvest.

CBH senior project manager Nathan Hayes said the company broke ground almost immediately, with sod turning in April.

Works include significant storage upgrades at Broomehill, Lake Grace, Gairdner, Dowerin, McLevie, Wickepin, Narngulu, Cranbrook and Dulyalbin, ranging from 46,800 to 236,000 tonnes.

A range of inloading and outloading equipment will also be installed, with the aim of reducing bottlenecks at harvest.

The Narngulu site in the Geraldton Port Zone is a new one for CBH, with plans to create a 180,000-tonne facility to service growers now becoming a reality.

Mr Hayes said CBH was on track to finish the upgrades by the 2019–2020 harvest. CBH originally pegged works to be completed by September. “Safety is our No.1 priority and due to the variance in size and complexity of each parcel of work, some sites will finish sooner than others,” he said.

“Weather conditions will also impact the delivery of these projects.”

The final two contracts for the expansion projects were announced this month.

Valmac has been awarded the contract to add 96,000 tonnes of storage to the Wickepin bin, while Georgiou Group scooped its second contract as part of the CBH upgrades when it was announced as the successful tenderer for a 60,000 tonne upgrade at the Dulyalbin bin, just a few months after it was awarded the contract to upgrade 152,000 tonnes at Cranbrook.

Earlier this year, CBH also announced WPC Civil had been awarded the contract to install 77,400 tonnes of storage at Broomehill, 84,000 at Lake Grace and 46,800 at Gairdner.

WBHO Infrastructure was chosen to install 246,000 tonnes at McLevie, 120,000 tonnes at Dowerin West and 180,000 at Narngulu.

WA grain growers delivered a bumper 16.4 million tonnes into CBH’s network last harvest, which was WA’s second-biggest and most valuable crop on record.

The current works mark the construction phase of CBH’s $750 million Network Strategy, which was announced in 2016 and included a plan to create “100 super bins” in WA. CBH has spruiked the strategy as a way to focus its attention on the 100 grain-receival sites that receive 90 per cent of the State’s average crop.

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