Improved conditions and infrastructure for exporters in the Central Highlands are opening new opportunities for local producers and agribusiness, a forum has heard.

The Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) hosted the From Paddock to Port: Supply Chain Forum in Emerald last week.

The event provided important updates on current supply chain infrastructure and services, as well as learnings, information and contacts from May’s tour of Gladstone, Mackay and Townsville Ports by exporters, aspiring exporters and value chain members.

CHDC Agribusiness Development Coordinator Liz Alexander says the recurring message of forum presenters was that the supply chain for agribusiness exporters in the Central Highlands is changing rapidly.

“New levels of supply chain connectivity created through improved shipping services and infrastructure are creating opportunities for Central Queensland producers and agribusinesses across diverse markets,” Mrs Alexander says.

“Northern Ports such as North Queensland Bulk Ports (Mackay) and the Gladstone Port Corporation have reviewed their businesses and are now focussing on diversifying their trade with a focus on break bulk trade services to agriculture.

“Key supply chain infrastructure investments are now being delivered with construction underway at the CQ Inland Port inter-modal freight hub at Yamala, and GrainCorp commencing build of the associated rail siding in January.”

The forum was attended by 50 producers, supply chain members, and port, freight forwarding and transport representatives from across Central Queensland and Brisbane.

Guests speakers included representatives from Austrade, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, Gladstone Port Corporation, Mariana Express Lines, CQ Inland Port, and GrainCorp, as well as a panel of locals who attended May’s ports tour.

Around 20 guests also travelled north to Wandina, Clermont, where Peter Mifsud provided a guided tour of his family’s impressive grain complex.

Presentations can soon be viewed at chdc.com.au.

Key points from the forum include:

  • Work is now underway on Phase 1 of the CQ Inland Port (CQIP), which includes a 1.6km CQIP-owned and -managed rail siding; a new intersection at Capricorn Highway; and a new 1.5km 13m-wide industrial road to be completed in June 2019.
  • CQIP’s intermodal container terminal is expected to commence construction in 2019.
  • GrainCorp will begin construction in early 2019 of the 180,000 tonne capacity super depot at CQ Inland Port.
  • GrainCorp’s two 25 TPH grain dryers at Capella, capable of drying grain from 15% to 12.5% in a single pass, are commissioned and will be ready for sorghum harvest.
  • The State and Federal Governments have allocated $1 billion to address pinch points at the Mackay Ring Road Stage 1; for the Eden Range realignment; and to upgrade access for Roadtrain Type 1 configurations at Walkerston Crossing.
  • The Gladstone Port Corporation (GPC) is procuring a harbor crane to support the container and break-bulk trade.
  • GPC is focusing on progressing Stage 2 of the Port Access Road upgrade and extending the Port Access Road from Glenlyon Intersection to Blain Drive.
  • Mariana Express Lines / Pacific Asia Express began a fortnightly container service delivering from Gladstone Port in July, 2018.
  • Since July, 95-98% of Mariana’s northbound trade (export) has been allocated and they are seeking to grow inbound trade to reduce costs for exporters

“CHDC, Central Highlands Regional Council and Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are actively working together to link proponents across the supply chain and collectively advocate to establish effective ‘last mile’ solutions for our northern ports,” Mrs Alexander says.

Until 30 November 2018, potential and aspiring exporters can take advantage of an early bird rate of $750 per business to register at chdc.com.au for Export Ready, a new, ten-part program designed to upskill agribusiness and related companies within Central Queensland.

Export Ready, the forum and tour form part of a multi-level program CHDC has developed to support companies to grow internationally.

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For further information, please contact CHDC Agribusiness Coordinator Liz Alexander 0429 471 511.

 

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