Exporters to clear backlog

27 Feb, 2009 03:00 AM
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GRAIN shipping nominations will re-open either this week or next with grain exporters agreeing to pay extra to bring grain faster to port to clear the backlog of ships off WA ports.

CBH closed shipping nominations on February 4 to clear a backlog of ships waiting off WA ports.

The problem was caused by many exporters wanting to ship early in the first year of deregulation and the inability of the road and grain rail system to get grain fast enough to port to keep up with the surge of ships.

CBH has met with some exporters and informed them of a proposal to expedite movement of the grain to port, which would come at a cost to exporters.

One exporter said some were obviously not happy about getting a bill to get ships loaded faster.

"Hopefully they will have a better set-up next year and not have so many vessels in the shipping stem," he said.

The exporter said shipping stem transparency would be a big issue for exporters as there had been cases where vessels not on the stem one day appeared to "pop up" in front of others the next day.

CBH general manager of operations Colin Tutt said last week the shipping stem would be opened soon.

"We have got enough ships until April 20-30 so we need to make that decision within a week or two," he said.

Mr Tutt said the system had a limited capacity and the issue was to try to work through a process to share it fairly at port.

"Does that mean we just take Grain Pool ships? No.

"CBH must re-develop a system that meets exporters' expectations of volume in any month.

"We must build up processes and the system must be better in a deregulated market place."

Read the full story in this week's Farm Weekly.

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