Freight Rail

First Northern NSW winter grain crop railed to Port of Newcastle

Port of Newcastle

The first of what is tipped to be a bumper winter wheat harvest has been transported by rail to the Port of Newcastle.

The 35,000 tonnes of wheat have been loaded onto the bulk carrier Ince Point for export to Vietnam and left the Port on Monday, November 23.

Port of Newcastle senior manager business development Matt Swan said that the shipment was the first of many, with up to 60 ships filled with grain expected to depart this season.

“It is too early to know a potential total but there is every chance export volumes could challenge the long-term records given the bumper winter harvest in the port’s catchment,” said Swan.

Grain harvested in Northern NSW is carried by rail to the Port of Newcastle. While the past two years were impacted by drought, National Agri Terminal executive director Jock Carter said that trains have been lining up, filled with grain, at the export terminal.

“Multiple trains, some carrying up to 4,000 tonnes of wheat, are arriving throughout the week as growers look to get their product to market earlier than previous years,” he said.

With the Port of Newcastle able to handle train lengths of up to 1,300 metres and directly connected by rail to the grain growing areas upstate, transport by rail is preferred.

“The port is unique on the East Coast – whether for grain or many other commodities – in its tremendous capacity for more ships and receiving the long trains needed to keep supply chain costs down and make growers more competitive,” said Carter.

Stuart Tighe, CEO of Moree-based agribusiness Boolah said that supply chain efficiency was key.

“The cost and efficiency of the supply chain – getting the product all the way from the farm to an overseas customer – has a major impact on the competitiveness of Australia’s grain in the international market,” Tighe said.

“Growers in NSW are improving their competitiveness through fast loading at the upcountry site, access to longer trains of 1300 metres to transport the product to Port of Newcastle, and then fast unloading into the terminal facility.”

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