The announcement by the Commonwealth of $25.6m to upgrade the roads of lower Eyre Peninsula has been welcomed by John Crosby, Chairman of FREE Eyre and Peninsula Ports.
FREE Eyre was formed over 10 years ago to provide competitive options for the grain industry and agriculture on Eyre Peninsula. It has 472 shareholders who are responsible for the growing and delivery of approximately 75% of the average 2.6million tonnes of grain grown each year on Eyre Peninsula.
“It is vital for the efficient movement of grain that we get a new east west link from Yeelanna across to the Eyre Highway, commonly known as the Dog Fence Road. This is particularly so, since the closure of the rail line to Port Lincoln.”
“It is necessary to reduce the truck traffic through the centre of Port Lincoln if the Eyre Peninsula capital is to reach its full potential as the centre of commerce and tourism.”
FREE Eyre, through its subsidiary Peninsula Ports is well advanced in the design and costing of its grain specific port known as Port Spencer about 15km north of Tumby Bay. It is currently mid way through a significant capital raising so as to allow Eyre Peninsula farmers and the agribusiness community the opportunity to be substantial shareholders in the new Port venture.
“This $200m facility will be highly economic because we have concentrated on the latest most efficient automated equipment available both in the grain industry and from the mining and shipping sectors.” Mr. Crosby said.
The Labor Government a few years ago estimated a multi-commodity port would require a capital input of around $700m. FREE Eyre believes that it can generate a very effective return on capital of around $200m. We have not chased the multi commodity approach because it leads to spending shareholder funds in areas where there is no certainty of the resultant income and where an effective return on capital is much harder to achieve.
Free Eyre has supported the development of Cape Hardy only about 10km away as an iron ore port. However, Free Eyre sees a distinct advantage in the 10km separating ore and foods such as grain. Mr Crosby noted that the world food commodity trade which includes grain is becoming increasingly sensitive to contaminants in its raw food products. It also avoids the prioritisation of grain ships which carry around 50,000 tonnes and ore ships which are over 200,000 tonnes.
“Having a port district which has a food specific section and an ore and general section, but separated by enough distance to prevent cross contamination makes a lot of sense to Eyre Peninsula’s grain growers and our discerning international grain customers ” Mr. Crosby said.
For further information, please contact:
FREE Eyre and Peninsula Ports Chairman, John Crosby 0419 630 604
FREE Eyre and Peninsula Ports CEO, Mark Rodda 0417 414 123