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Sustaining network infrastructure focus of 2021 investment


The CBH Group will have a greater focus on sustaining existing network infrastructure, while continuing to grow storage capacity, as part of a $250 million budget for network investment in 2021.

CBH Chief Operations Officer Ben Macnamara said approximately $125 million would be committed this year to sustaining capital projects that would extend the useful life of existing assets and infrastructure across the network. Nearly 200 sustaining capital projects are planned, including the annual maintenance shutdowns of CBH’s four port terminals, equipment upgrades, storage refurbishments, roadworks and electrical works.

Of the remaining network investment budget, approximately $80 million would be committed to expansion and enhancement projects, including the storage projects at Brookton, Dale and Hyden, as well as new site throughput enhancements and rail outloading projects.

Approximately $45 million would be invested in general maintenance. Mr Macnamara said the scale of CBH’s infrastructure network required significant investment to keep its existing assets performing at expected levels. “Our increased investment in sustaining capital projects, which is nearly double the $65 million invested last year, is likely to remain at this level in coming years,” he said.

“We need to ensure our existing assets and infrastructure at port terminals and upcountry are performing to expectations to manage inloading and outloading tasks as efficiently as possible. “There will be a greater focus on outloading projects to get tonnes to port in the first half of the shipping year to meet market demand for Australian grain.

This will include co-investing with the McGowan Government in rail siding and loading infrastructure upgrades. “This work needs to be balanced with the investment still required to add storage to the network so we can cater for a growing crop size and meet the changing pace of harvest deliveries.

“Over the past decade, the average size of trucks delivering grain to CBH sites has grown from 38 tonnes to 48 tonnes, while the speed that growers deliver to us has increased by approximately 25 per cent. “As growers continue to innovate and invest in their farming practices to increase crop size and harvest capacity, our network needs to match this pace in both storage and operating reliability so we can provide an efficient service when growers need it most.”