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  • Group looking for alternate port

    2019 - 07.17

    New port: Free Eyre chief executive office Mark Rodda said all options for a new port will be investigated before consultation began.RURAL investment company Free Eyre is calling for an alternate grain handling and exporting facility on Eyre Peninsula to increase competitiveness in the region.

    The company has argued that South Australia’s grain exporting infrastructure being owned by one organisation, Viterra, has led to escalating costs for growers.

    Free Eyre has sent a survey to grain growers across Eyre Peninsula asking if they were interested in setting up a fund or pool of money for the purpose of investing in an alternate port structure when it becomes available.

    Free Eyre chief executive officer Mark Rodda said the company had looked at alternate grain export avenues during the past eight years.

    “We’ve always believed grain handling and export on Eyre Peninsula has been important to farming in South Australia, and it’s one of the biggest expenses farmers have,” he said.

    “The storage and handling system was owned by growers until Viterra bought it, and no other trader has come in and built an alternate source.”

    In its background paper that was sent to growers, Free Eyre highlighted four possible sites where alternate grain storage and export infrastructure could be considered.

    Free Eyre has seen the bulk commodity shipping proposal for Lucky Bay as having some promise, as well as the proposals for multi-commodity exporting facilities at Port Spencer and Cape Hardy.

    Thevenard has also been highlighted as a possible area with Free Eyre arguing a modern transshipping solution, similar to the one proposed for Lucky Bay, should be considered.

    Finally the Lukin Quays Development at Port Lincoln has also been suggested as a possible site.

    Mr Rodda said all possible sites would be considered and discussed with the shareholders.

    “All have different factors to them, we know at Lucky Bay work is happening there, we’re not sure how fast but it is happening,” he said.

    “From Free Eyre’s perspective, we will look at alternate sites and if one has an economically viable future then we will be involved with shareholders and negotiate the particular outcome with them.”

    About 15 per cent of surveys have been returned so far, but there is early indication for supporting an alternate grain handling port.

    People can call Free Eyre on 8232 9266 for a survey.

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