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South Australia probes grain transport costs

Road and rail haulage part of Koutsantonis-ordered investigation


South Australia’s inquiry into grain expert supply chain costs is underway and will probe road and rail transport.

The two part inquiry, sought by state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis from the Essential Services Commission of SA, will examine “the reasonableness of the costs underpinning the South Australian bulk grain supply chain”.

It will look at:

  • bulk grain export supply chain costs over the past 10 years
  • provide options to address any costly inefficiencies discovered.

The inquiry’s terms of reference encompass farm gate to export vessel costs including ship loading charges, “the basis upon which road and rail components of the bulk grain export supply chain costs are recovered” and state harvest trends in over the past 10 years.

Submissions are now open not long after the government hailed the state’s best-ever harvest, with agriculture minister Leon Bignell all involved, particularly agribusiness and grains logistics provider Viterra.

“Viterra has done a fantastic job working with the industry to prepare for this bumper crop, boosting its storage, handling and shipping capacity,” Bignell said at the end of March.

While there is to be public consultation, Koutsantonis has asked ESCOSA to work with Primary Industries and Regions SA, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Department of Treasury and Finance

The Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) is to be a consultant for the review “as this organisation has already been involved in various publications on the grain supply chain and has the necessary analysts available”, Koutsantonis writes.

ESCOSA is due to report in six months’ time. 

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