Records smashed from bumper harvest

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeThe West Australian
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The Kwinana bulk grain terminal.
Camera IconThe Kwinana bulk grain terminal. Credit: Cally Dupe

The State’s record harvest continues to have a flow-on effect, with CBH Group smashing the WA shipping record for the month of April.

A whopping 1.6 million tonnes of grain left the State’s ports last month, bound for international customers.

The new record comes after January’s 1.8 million-tonne shipping volume, the largest amount of grain exported from WA in a single month.

The previous monthly record of 1.6 million tonnes was set in February 2014.

In a boon for Brookfield Rail, there were also record rail movements in March.

The largest amount of grain transported via rail during a one-month period, 964,932 tonnes, made its way across WA’s grain belt that month.

CBH Group general manager operations David Capper said the recent success proved his company’s supply chain could respond to the record harvest.

“Without the appropriate infrastructure and dedication of our regional and port teams we wouldn’t be able to consistently break records,” he said.

About 62 per cent of the State’s record-breaking 16.6 million-tonne 2016-17 crop has been exported so far. The record crop, announced February 2, delivered CBH Group an additional 800,000 tonnes of grain than the previous 15.8 tonne record in 2013-14.

CBH estimates the 2016-17 harvest will pump about $5 billion to $6 billion into the WA economy.

But heavy rainfall in February created a logistical nightmare for the grain handler, with country retrieval sites full and ships forced to queue up and down the coast.

Nearly all lines in the Kwinana port zone were closed for about a week after extensive flooding damaged the tracks.

Brookfield Rail service delivery manager Joel Trouchet said moving grain to market during the difficult time was rewarding.

“It’s also a massive testament to our maintenance teams who worked around the clock to reopen the majority of the grain lines damaged by the recent flooding,” he said.

“These record results are really rewarding for everyone ... who work together every day to ensure WA growers get their grain to market.”

There were a number of other records broken as a result of the bumper harvest.

A total of 23 grain receival sites broke records for the most grain received in one day and 30 sites broke total harvest receival records.

Another record of $220,000 was delivered to charity through CBH Group’s Harvest Mass Management Scheme.

The scheme allows trucks above legal tolerance limits to forfeit overloaded tonnes, which are then sold to raise money for regional charities.

Mr Capper said CBH Group would continue to focus on its $750 million network strategy.

Notable moments

April shipping record (1.6 million tonnes)

Highest ever monthly rail movements in March (964,932 tonnes)

Highest ever monthly shipping record January (1.8 million tonnes)

23 sites broke records for the most grain received in one day

30 sites broke total harvest receival records

Record $220,000 delivered to charity through CBH Group’s Harvest Mass Management Scheme

First direct to vessel service returned $730,000 to growers

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