Lock bunker site officially opened

SITE OPEN: Elliston District Council mayor Malcolm Hancock and T-Ports CEO Kieran Carvill cut the ribbon at the Lock bunker site.
SITE OPEN: Elliston District Council mayor Malcolm Hancock and T-Ports CEO Kieran Carvill cut the ribbon at the Lock bunker site.

The new lock bunker site for the T-Ports grain shipping project has been officially opened with a launch at the site on October 10.

Elliston District Council mayor Malcolm Hancock and T-Ports chief executive officer Kieran Carvill cut the ceremonial ribbon to declare the site open ahead of the 2019 harvest.

The site is one of two, with the bunker site at Lucky Bay also ready for harvest and construction on the port set to conclude in December.

The 'Lucky Eyre' transhipment vessel will be leaving China around the end of the month and the first full shipment is expected to be in January.

Mr Carvill said he was "thrilled" to see so many locals at the launch after spending a long time working on building interest and confidence in the project.

"It's quite exciting, it's lovely to have got to this point," he said.

"For the last 20 years in South Australia, people have talked about building ports... we're really proud of it, we've come out and we've built it."

He said the company's approach of building smaller ports closer to the product was about using modern technologies to return to supply chains that were more closely connected to smaller communities.

"It automatically puts more emphasis on rural Australia," he said.

"We have prioritised at all times South Australian and local companies and we'll continue to do so."

Mr Carvill said he was hearing "very positive" feedback from local growers as harvest approaches.

"They recognise that competition will change the service and the prices that they face," he said.

However, he said local growers saw the project as "both a risk and an opportunity," with significant change often a slow process in agricultural communities.

"It takes time, we're aware of that and we've budgeted for it."

"It's a learning process for them that they can learn to trust us."

In a speech to the growers and community members at the launch, Mr Hancock spoke about the opportunities the site would bring to the town of Lock, which has seen a decline in population in recent years.

"This would have to be one of the best investments that anyone's put into our community (in recent years)," he said.

Mr Hancock said growers had been "hanging out for another alternative" and he was excited to see how competition would change the region.