GrainGrowers has launched its National Grain Freight Strategy

GrainGrowers has launched its National Grain Freight Strategy

GrainGrowers today unveiled its National Grain Freight Strategy with a practical road map for government to help drive Australia’s global competitiveness.

The strategy is designed to increase the productivity and efficiency of the supply chain, driving down costs and delivering savings for Australian growers.

Launching the strategy, GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton said a unified and considered approach was vital to address a complex and multi-faceted issue.

The launch was supported by a panel discussion featuring participants across the supply chain discussing some of the challenges and opportunities facing the grain supply chain.

Panel participants included Victorian grower, Ryan Milgate; GrainCorp General Manager, Commercial, Sean Barker; Australasian Rail Association General Manager, Freight and Haul, Georgia Nicholls; and Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association Executive Director, Rachel Smith.

Mr Turton explained that the grain freight supply chain was characterised by diverse, complex, and multidirectional freight journeys across multiple modes of transport.

“In 2022-23, a record winter crop production of 65.7 million tonnes was moved from paddocks across regional Australia, by either road or rail to port for export or to domestic markets.”

“The expense of moving grain is the single largest cost of production, with CSIRO modelling highlighting transport costs of $2.1 billion per annum.

“Increasingly, our ability to compete on the global stage is not just determined by what we grow, but also how efficiently and effectively we can get our grain to market. For context, prior to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, both countries production costs were $70-$120 AUD less than Australia’s.”

GrainGrowers commissioned international consulting firm LEK to develop “Connecting the Dots” report to identify key pinch points in the supply chain. Following the report, GrainGrowers consulted with over 40 stakeholders in the across supply chain to gain further input into the issues.

Mr Turton said GrainGrowers is proud to lead the charge in developing a comprehensive National Grain Freight Strategy.

“By collaborating with industry stakeholders and policymakers, we're paving the way for a more efficient and resilient grain supply chain that meets the evolving needs of Australian grain growers.”

“While growers are at the heart of the strategy, with a key focus on the issues that impact transporting grain off farm such as local roads and bridges, it is vital the approach reflects the views of the broader supply chain.”

“What we have now is a clear strategy built around six key objectives, with the potential to make a real difference to the productivity and efficiency of the grain freight supply chain.”

  • Encourage competition and new supply chain entrants
  • Increase scalable capacity within the supply chain
  • Streamline and harmonise regulation
  • Build supply chain resilience
  • Support new technologies and innovation
  • Enhance freight sustainability

Mr Turton said the practical application of the strategy was embedded in an action plan focused on road funding, road regulation, bridges, rail, ports and freight decarbonisation.

It outlines ways for government and industry stakeholders to work together, ensuring that Australia’s grain supply chain remains competitive on the global stage.

“The action plan part of this strategy highlights what needs to happen, and the timeline required to deliver results.”

With most domestic grain and an increasing proportion of export grain transported by road, a well-maintained national road system is required. Elements required over the short-term include the development of state-based grain freight strategies; increased funding to direct funding mechanisms such as the Roads to Recovery Program; funding to critical grain freight routes under the Infrastructure Investment Program; and elevating the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy’s governance structures to a National Cabinet priority to increase resourcing and accountability.

“This is not a wish list. It is a pragmatic, strategic pathway forward, and we urge the government to support this and make strategic investments to bring substantial benefits to the industry and the broader Australian economy,” Mr Turton emphasised.