GRAINCORP is ready and waiting for what looms as a potentially monstrous southern zone harvest.
Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) production estimates have flagged a harvest as high as nine million tonnes.
But the east coast bulk handler network has said it is ready and waiting.
Manager of storage and logistics Bruce Griffin said that after its round of pre-harvest meetings, GrainCorp was confident it had sufficient storage in place.
“We’re spending dollars at key Victorian storages to expand our receival capacity,” Mr Griffin said.
Nor is the company perturbed about executing logistics for a range of exporters.
Corporate affairs manager David Ginns said deregulation had nothing to do with the logistical nature of the business.
“The tonnes were there no matter who was buying,” Mr Ginns said.
“Our tasks in receiving, storing and handling the grain will remain the same – the matter of dealing with an increased number of exporters is a different matter; at an operational level it won’t make it any more difficult.”
Mr Griffin said portable grain elevator equipment would be moved south from NSW to meet demand this year.
“We have a set of drive over hoppers which are fully mobile. As the harvest progresses, we will be able to move them south,” he said.
In terms of targeting capacity to key area of demand, Mr Griffin said the company’s strategy had been to go with the more flexible option of large amounts of bunker storage.
“With the bunkers, they are a little more expensive to operate, as it needs more people to maintain, to put the tarps across and all that, but the beauty is that you only use them when the grain is there,” he said.
“This is in comparison to vertical storage, which is cheaper to run, but far more expensive to build.
“You can turn around and build vertical storage and have nothing to put back into them to recoup your expenses for a year.
“We have ensured we are prepared to put in extra bunkers should they be needed.
“There are additional tarps on hand to make sure we can get the extra storage in should it be needed.
“It’s relatively easy to set them up and can be done in a short space of time, which means we can be flexible about where additional bunkers go in.”
Importantly, he said a number of Victorian sites, such as Warracknabeal, had additional land nearby where GrainCorp could fit additional bunkers if necessary.