IN February, CBH Group called on growers to take to the road to help cart grain from country to port and while no growers have directly started carting for the co-operative yet, interest was received from 34 farmers.
CBH's grower truck program has been broken up into different prongs and so far through the grain forward haul initiative, growers are providing 30 additional loads per day on their way to pick up limesand or fertiliser.
However the growers who offered to cart directly for CBH under the grower transport initiative or to sub-contract to existing road contractors are going through the onboarding process.
Chief executive officer Ben Macnamara said that was in order to comply with applicable regulations and safety, in preparation to start transporting on specific routes in the Esperance and Kwinana zones in the coming weeks.
"As well as supporting us to introduce the grower truck initiatives, our road contractors have been working with us to increase capacity through attracting new sub-contractors across the network and changing truck configurations to incorporate trailers leased by CBH," Mr Macnamara said.
"On top of that, the two additional Aurizon rail fleets are scheduled to start operations in April, adding to the existing 10 owned by CBH and one already provided by Aurizon.
"One of these fleets will be used in the Esperance zone within the next month, the first time rail has been operational in this zone for several years."
As of March 31, CBH had exported 7.89 million tonnes of grain, in line with its export plan.
For the period October 2021 to March 2022, that included 1.95mt from the Geraldton zone, 2.8mt from the Kwinana zone, 1.58mt from the Albany zone and 1.59mt from the Esperance zone.
"Since October 1 last year, CBH has added 740,000t of additional capacity, taking the total capacity to 17.74mt," Mr Macnamara said.
"The most CBH has ever previously shipped in a year is 15mt, so this shipping capacity on offer is already at a record high and we are seeking to add to this to meet market demand."
That demand is largely due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine which has halted grain and oilseed exports from those countries.
With estimates ranging from 60 per cent to 90pc of wheat imports in the Middle East and Africa being sourced from either the Ukraine or Russia, the interruption saw commodity futures markets rise sharply in markets in North America and Europe.
Mr Macnamara said the full increase in the futures markets was not reflected in cash markets across the world, including Australia and North America, due to consumers and the trade effectively stepping aside as short sellers in the futures markets were squeezed.
"However, as this is starting to unwind, futures markets are likely to reflect the fundamentals more closely," he said.
"North African and Middle East buyers impacted by the Ukrainian conflict have been covering their immediate requirements from Europe and India, due to Australia's shipping capacity remaining fully sold.
"Asian buyers have remained on the sidelines during this period with the majority covered until middle of the year and preferring to wait."
Ongoing restricted exports from the Black Sea will likely see additional demand move to Australia and other origins over the coming months, which CBH hopes to capitalise on by adding further shipping capacity through its grower truck initiatives.
Want weekly news highlights delivered to your inbox? Sign up to the Farm Weekly newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.