Peninsula Ports secures funding to ensure grain exports will go ahead at Port Spencer

Work to build a $250 million grain exports port at Port Spencer on Eyre Peninsula is expected to start in June, with Peninsula Ports securing funding for its development.

The Port Spencer grain export facility, 20km north east of Tumby Bay, will have the capacity to store 800,000 tonnes of grain and is planned to be operational in time for the 2023 harvest.

Peninsula Ports Chair John Crosby said Aria Commodities – a global commodity trading company investing in infrastructure which operates in Western Australia – would be the principal funding partner going forward.

“Aria Commodities is expanding in Australia and it sees Port Spencer as the ideal location to support Eyre Peninsula farmers as they export their high-quality grains to countries throughout the world,” Mr Crosby said.

“Once the deep-water port is built there will be significant benefits for the region, and we hope it will provide an economic boost to not just the Eyre Peninsula, but to the state as a whole.”

There have been serious safety concerns in the Port Lincoln community about the increasing number of trucks carrying grain travelling through the city’s streets to access its port since the railway line grain service ceased in 2019.

However, Mr Crosby said once the Port Spencer facility was operational, it would significantly reduce truck movements – potentially removing thousands of truck movements from Port Lincoln’s roads – in providing an export alternative away from the city.

Using the port could also save growers up to $20 a tonne in costs by eliminating double handling, with a streamlined process ensuring grain can be stored directly on site and then transported via conveyor belts onto ships. The port’s ship loading capacity will be 2,400 tonnes per hour.

Port Spencer will also provide a closer export option for dozens of farmers, significantly cutting the time taken to deliver grain, and transport and handling costs.

The Aria Commodities funding agreement was approved at a board meeting held in Port Lincoln last night (Wednesday 3 May).

Free Eyre, the former parent company and proponent of Peninsula Ports which consists of a consortium of 488 farmer shareholders, will remain a shareholder.

“The directors of Free Eyre and Peninsula Ports are delighted to be able to take the final step towards building a new port to aid the further development of the grain industry on Eyre Peninsula, while maintaining the direct connection between farmers and their market,” Mr Crosby said.

Peninsula Ports has signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Barngarla community and is working with local residents to ensure there are community benefits, including the surfacing of roads.

The current Port Spencer project will create up to 150 jobs during construction and a further 20 permanent local operational jobs including employment opportunities for Barngarla community members. Operational staff numbers are expected to further peak at 80 staff during grain harvest.

Media Enquiries: Simon Hatcher at Hughes PR on 0419 780 071