Super bins upgrade almost ready as harvest heightens

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
CBH's McLevie site from the air.
Camera IconCBH's McLevie site from the air. Credit: Lloyd Summers

Australia’s biggest grain handler is expected to wrap up its biggest permanent storage upgrade in history this week, as harvest cranks up across WA.

The $150 million storage upgrade program included adding between 46,800 and 236,000 tonnes of permanent storage at nine sites across CBH’s five port zones.

The selected sites were Broomehill, Lake Grace, Gairdner, Dowerin, Wickepin, Narngulu, Cranbrook, Dulyalbin and McLevie.

Works are now complete at eight of the nine sites, with the final construction project, adding 106,000 tonnes of permanent storage at Wickepin, expected to be complete next week.

The upgrades mark the construction phase of CBH’s $750 million Network Strategy, which was announced in 2016 with 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.

The upgrades have boosted storage capacity to 313,050 tonnes at Broomehill, 313,028 tonnes at Lake Grace, 293,200 tonnes at Gairdner, 267,400 tonnes at Dowerin, 329,500 tonnes at McLevie, 243,975 tonnes at Wickepin, 536,450 tonnes at Cranbrook and 100,600 tonnes at Dulyalbin.

Narngulu is a new site, with its construction adding 180,000 tonnes of storage added to the Geraldton Port Zone.

On Monday, a contingent of CBH staff travelled to Dalwallinu to unveil the McLevie upgrades, which have made that site one of CBH’s biggest.

The 236,000 tonne storage expansion was the biggest storage upgrade since CBH unveiled its Network Strategy in 2017 and takes the McLevie site’s capacity to 329,500 tonnes.

In a statement, CBH said it selected McLevie because the “average crop size” in the area had increased significantly during the past decade.

“Last year, more than 329,000 tonnes of grain were delivered to the site, resulting in a significant outloading program during harvest,” it said.

The 270,000 tonne storage upgrade at the McLevie site, located at Dalwallinu, is hoped to shorten waiting times at the bin, which services growers in the northern Wheatbelt.

CBH planned to host an event at the Broomehill receival site on October 17, to celebrate the completion of its 77,400 tonnes of new permanent storage.

CBH operations general manager Ben Macnamara said the grain handler was rolling out a significant program of capital works this year. “We’ve made progress with our ongoing network investment this year, adding a substantial amount of permanent storage to the network and improving our ability to receive grain from growers during harvest,” he said.

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