Exporters in terminal discussions

Kate PollardCountryman

Nearly a dozen grain exporters and industry players are believed to have formally expressed an interest in developing a grain terminal at James Point port.

By mid 2015, the developer hopes to be exporting its first shipment of grain along with other commodities, including minerals.

James Point Pty Ltd (JJPL) chairman Chris Whitaker said the level of interest from large exporters and other players had been significant.

Parties have until Friday to formally express their interest.

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Dr Whitaker declined to give an exact number but told _Countryman _ earlier in the year that 10 companies had flagged interest in exporting 700,000 to two million tonnes of grain annually from a terminal.

"What we are doing is beginning a selection process to determine who will be foundation customers in terms of a new grain facility," Dr Whitaker said.

The two-stage process involves confirmation by interested parties to give a preliminary view of involvement and arrangements such as development of infrastructure, ownership and management.

From there, Dr Whitaker said JJPL would make a shortlist to firm up a heads of agreement.

The timing of expressions of interest for a grains player comes as the pre-construction program studies to confirm the final design and layout are drafted.

"It's important from my perspective that some of the more significant users of the port, and the grain industry, will resolve the final design questions and layout of the port," Dr Whitaker said.

"You really have to get grain right. There are all sorts of quarantine issues and other issues to get right. So we see it as a very important customer and we have to get them right from day one."

An announcement is expected to be made later this year on the successful party.

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