Wheat deregulation gets tick of approval

25 Feb, 2009 11:44 AM
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DESPITE a flotilla of ships waiting off the WA coast to load grain, and threatening to slow grain sales as a result of frozen shipping stems, the deregulation of WA wheat exports was proceeding smoothly, according to Wheat Exports Australia(WEA).

The February WEA newsletter said the newly liberalised wheat export market had assisted Australia to compete strongly in the global market, but said nothing about the problems being experienced in WA.

The newsletter said the latest figures indicated Australian bulk wheat exports had more than doubled in the last quarter compared to the same period last year.

WEA chief executive officer Peter Woods said the accreditation of 22 companies in the past seven months, including the recent accreditation of Noble Resources Australia, was a huge milestone for the Australian wheat industry.

"The last six months of 2008 was a period of significant reform of Australia's wheat industry," Mr Woods said.

"Despite production challenges we have managed, as an industry, to export more than three million tonnes of bulk wheat, since October 2008.

"Fourteen accredited companies have exported to 27 different countries including Japan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, China, Egypt, Korea, Bangladesh, South Africa, UAE and New Zealand."

Mr Woods said the issue of the backlog of ships, not helped by a late harvest in WA, was an industry issue and that the amount of grain exported compared to last year showed the system was working well.

"To date nobody has written to us complaining about saying they had problems with shipping stems," Mr Woods said.

"We are aware there are some teething problems in trying to get grain in ships at the speed everyone is asking."

Mr Woods said there were also some problems being experienced at Newcastle in relation to the slow movement of grain in and out of the terminal.

The former acting CEO of the Export Wheat Commission and Wheat Export Authority, which regulated the old single wheat export desk, said in the first year of a newly deregulated market the industry dealt with drought across much of Australia with late storms damaging crops in significant wheat growing areas.

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