Bunge gets first grain ship away

24 Jul, 2014 02:00 AM
Terminal manager Phil Dorrell looks on as 18,000 tonnes of wheat is loaded onto the DL Lavender bound for Cebu, Philippines. The shipment marked the first from Bunge Australia's newly-established grain exporting facilities in the coastal city.
There will absolutely be more opportunities for more WA grain to go there in coming years."
Terminal manager Phil Dorrell looks on as 18,000 tonnes of wheat is loaded onto the DL Lavender bound for Cebu, Philippines. The shipment marked the first from Bunge Australia's newly-established grain exporting facilities in the coastal city.

BUNGE Australia farewelled its first grain shipment from Bunbury last Saturday.

The 18,000 tonne wheat cargo was aboard the DL Lavender bound for a Cebu flour mill in the Philippines.

Following the recent bad weather and a few small mechanical issues, coupled with the fact the DL Lavender failed survey before entering the port, the outbound voyage was a week later than expected.

But Bunge met its target to have the first shipment on course by the middle of 2014 as stipulated at the time of building its Bunbury facility.

Bunge Australia general manager Chris Aucote said despite a few minor commissioning hiccups the vessel was loaded and the woodchip loader used to do so worked.

Overall he said he was extremely happy with how it went.

"Any commissioning process is never 100 per cent smooth sailing," Mr Aucote said.

"There are always going to be some minor modifications made along the way."

He confirmed there were a few problems getting the boat into Bunge's dolphin berth before loading.

"The boat failed survey which was nothing to do with us," he said.

"Completing the facility was really a key priority and the loading of the boat ticks the last box in regards to commissioning the facility."

Mr Aucote said in the upcoming months, Bunge would focus heavily on buying more grain to put through the terminal next year - some of which would also make its way to Cebu.

"We send a fair bit of wheat to this mill in Cebu and it's a very good customer of Bunge's," he said.

"The miller actually came out and visited our Bunbury facility when it was being built.

"There will absolutely be more opportunities for more WA grain to go there in coming years."

Reflecting on this year's accumulations task, Mr Aucote said Bunge had acquired grain from the entire span of its intended Wagin-Narrogin-Lake Grace-Lake King-Katanning catchment area (including Kondinin).

"We've probably seen more come in from the eastern part of the regions because there are more on-farm storage facilities in those locations," he said.

"At the moment there isn't much storage throughout the historical wool belt but with time that has the ability to change."

Mr Aucote said growers would watch Bunge very closely this year to see how well it performed.

He said hopefully growers were starting to see the benefits of what having Bunge at Bunbury meant for competition in the WA grain space, including competitive freight rates to port.

The sailing of the DL Lavender marks the end of CBH's control over WA grain exports, which saw the co-operative close its doors on the Bunbury port in the 1980s due to accumulation issues.

Bunge hopes to export up to 500,000t in its first two years of operation.

Its $40 million Bunbury site houses 50,000t of capacity and will utilise road networks to bring in its annual harvest accumulations, largely from large on-farm storage systems throughout WA's grainbelt.

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24/07/2014 6:19:00 AM, on Farm Weekly

Bunge has to make up country investment ASAP and if they were smart (and I don't doubt they are), they will target the NE part of our catchment as that pulls in the Kwinana zone. The eastern and SE parts of the catchment are poorly serviced by CBH and farmers will be madly investing in on farm storage to enable them to capture the 'Bunge premium'. This is a leak in the CBH boat but will be developed into a gaping hole in time.
Jock Munro
24/07/2014 6:29:04 AM, on The Land

Bunge will behave themselves whilst ever CBH remains a grower co -op. If growers sell CBH it will become a merchant middleman free for all in WA just like it is in the East.
Jock Munro
24/07/2014 6:49:52 AM, on The Land

Deregular, Well written by a trader.
24/07/2014 7:47:29 AM, on Farm Weekly

Bunge has already had a massive effect on the farm gate price recieved by farmers in the Albany zone. It was only competition that was needed to fix the massive discount for Albany zone grain. The farmers that took their grievances to the board of CBH and were ignored, will now be looking at the Bunbury option. Whilst a small ripple effect will be helping all WA growers from Bunge. The ultimate win, win, situation is for competition to establish in the Kwinana zone. CBH cannot plug the hole anymore, they never earnt their luxury monopoly so they will easiliy loose it from indemic inefficiency.
X Ag Socialist
24/07/2014 8:42:52 AM, on Farm Weekly

D8 I have delivered my own wheat to Lake Grace Kulin and Kondinin in the past and disagree with your assessment that these districts are poorly served by CBH however Bunge may well add some advantages to farmers in these regions .
Jock Munro
25/07/2014 5:32:10 AM, on The Land

Deregulaters do not let the truth get in the way of a good story, X Ag Socialist. The deregulaters in this part of the world have gone very quiet - some of them have even gotten out of farming after helping the mega merchants steal our industry.
Interested Party
25/07/2014 7:36:50 AM, on Farm Weekly

"Massive effect on the farm gate price in Albany". Interesting comment as we've yet to see that and you obviously haven't taken a load to Bunbury as yet. Pack your bag as it's an overnighter.
25/07/2014 9:33:38 AM, on The Land

Good to see your honest comments "Interested Party". You are just confirming what many of us know about the unreliability of statements by deregul8 and Boris, et al.
X Ag Socialist
25/07/2014 10:43:02 AM, on Farm Weekly

Very few of the WA bloggers are wheat growers, Jock.
25/07/2014 2:42:11 PM, on The Land

Nobody begrudges Bunge from getting their first ship away. Well done. They are as good as any other multi-national grain trader. However it is unbelievable that true West Australian farmers could wish harm on CBH. After all they are the closest thing Aust has got to a grower owned international grain handler and marketer and all of their revenue has been dedicated to WA since about 1930. That any farmer could want to transfer that hard won, powerful position on behalf of farmers, to mercenary foreign traders is beyond belief, when Aussie growers are already weak sellers in global markets.
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