Lack of carriers delays grain export

A shortage of road transport causes havoc on grain exports due to flood damage to Victoria's rail network

By Ruza Zivkusic | March 9, 2011

The grain supply chain is being
urged to work more cooperatively as a shortage of road transport delays Victorian grain deliveries to other states.

GrainCorp Corporate Affairs Manager David Ginns says its customers are faced with a lack of grain transport suppliers as Victoria’s damaged rail network pushes grain transportation to road carriers.

"They’re having a great deal of difficulty getting road transport because of the shortage of suppliers, at a considerably higher cost than what we would normally expect to pay for haulage," Ginns says.

"They are paying higher prices and we are experiencing delays with cargo accumulation, which then affects the general competitiveness of exports.

"Trucks and trailers are not cheap and road freight providers would see what’s happening at this point in time as the upside of supply and demand.

"There have been periods in the not too distant past where there has been an oversupply of road transport and freight has been hard to come by so freight providers are doing well at this point in time."

Ginns believes the problem will only increase when rice is harvested in southern NSW and the harvest of cotton and summer crops in northern NSW and Queensland approaches.

Australian Bulk Alliance General Manager Simon McNair says demand is exceeding supply with grain transportation from ABA’s Melbourne grain terminal to Geelong booked out until August.

"The big issue for us is people saying they’re going to deliver grain and they don’t turn up on any advice," McNair says.

"We run a booking service where they book a slot to deliver their grain, we have only been busy for the last two months but it’s becoming quite a common thing where trucks don’t turn up.

"Everyone is fully booked until August, there’s a lot of grain and demand out there and a lot of ships waiting off most ports along the east coast.

"The industry has always risen to meet the challenges put in front of it as the government has removed itself from their handling in the transport side of things and I have no doubt it will rise to it.

"It’s just a matter of getting the total supply chain and several of organisations working a bit more cooperatively."

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