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Grain drives Oz port records

Australia’s unprecedented 58.9 Mt 2016-17 grain harvest – up 49% on the previous year – is driving further port records as exports flow through in bulk and containers.

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Victoria’s Geelong, for example, is thanking last year’s introduction of dynamic under-keel clearance ((DUKC) technology for a series of new benchmarks, with February marking the port’s largest month of exports at 412,750t.month of exports at 412,750t.

Using the DUKC system, the Victorian Regional Channels Authority was able to increase the maximum allowable draught from 11.6m to 11.9m. The authority aims to increase this to 12m in coming months after completing extensive certification measurements.

Grain exporter GrainCorp praised the improvements as enabling greater operational efficiency and global competitiveness in shipping out a Victorian crop three times bigger than 2015-16.

Records set included:

  • The largest single shipment of canola fully loaded in Geelong, with the NORD POLLUX sailing with more than 61,900t.
  • The largest single shipment of wheat fully loaded in Geelong, with the TOMAHAWK departing carrying almost 61,800t.
  • The largest shipment of barley fully loaded in Geelong, with the TWINKLE ISLAND sailing with 62,500t of the grain.
  • Exporting the most grain in a month, more than 393,560t.

Meanwhile, in New South Wales, Quattro Ports’ Port Kembla Grain Terminal was officially opened on 19 April by state minister for maritime and freight, Melinda Pavey, albeit the first cargo was loaded in March 2016 and the facility has already handled nearly 700,000t on 19 vessels.

The project included the extension of Port Kembla’s berth 103 to accommodate Panamax bulkers, ten 10,000t capacity vertical silos in addition to nine 2,000t capacity silos, rail discharge facilities, a 1,500tph loading conveyor and a mobile shiploader. Quattro Ports is a joint venture between Cofco Agri, Qube, Cargill and Emerald Grain.

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