The start of a new era in grain handling and exports on the Eyre Peninsula has been marked with a ‘sod turning’ event at the Lucky Bay bunker site on Friday.
T-Ports chief executive officer Kieran Carvill said while the ceremony signalled the official start of the project, planning had been underway for several years, with growers, investors and the Eyre Peninsula community to receive equal benefit from the project.
“We know growers have been promised many things over many years but turning the sod today and having earth-moving equipment already at the site demonstrates this project is here to stay and we see a long and beneficial partnership with EP communities,” he said
“We believe it will create a new way of business for EP growers where, rather than the harvest rush to get grain into the bulk handling system, they may consider investment in on-farm storage to return benefits in cheaper delivery direct to port in the post-harvest period.”
About 40 people attended the event, including Member for Flinders Peter Treloar, ICAM managing director Freddy Bartlett, Member for Giles Eddie Hughes and representatives from Franklin Harbour District Council, Elliston District Council, the Eyre Peninsula Regional Development Board and growers who have committed tonnage to the project.
Franklin Harbour District Council mayor Robert Starr said the project was great for the district.
“This is the biggest project in the lifetime of the council,” he said.
“It will put Cowell on the map.”
The event follows a week of T-Ports meeting with growers in Cowell, Cleve, Kimba, Lock and Warramboo.
“We have been meeting with growers on the EP over the past week and the enthusiasm and excitement for a real, tangible alternative grain supply chain in which they have equity is obvious,” Mr Carvill said.