South Australia’s (SA) two part inquiry into grain expert supply chain costs that is underway will also probe the road and rail transport. This probe, is being 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 and provide options to address any costly inefficiency discovered. Since Australia is both exporter and buyer of rice, lower freight costs will boost two way rice trade.
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.
Koutsantonis has asked ESCSA to work with Primary Industries and Regions SA, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the Department of Treasury and Finance, although there is to be public consultation too. 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. ESCSA is due to report in six months’ time.