TRADING company Australian-Asian Agricultural Exports (AAAX) is positioned to export its first bulk cargo now that the company has entered into a port terminal services agreement with Western Australia’s CBH Group.
AAAX general manager trading and marketing James Foulsham said the company is expecting to load its first cargo in February now that it has acquired shipping slots.
“We buy capacity for the year, and then we buy the grain,” Mr Foulsham said.
Through its joint venture with ARIA Commodities, AAAX was successful in bidding for around 300,000 tonnes of export capacity at CBH’s Esperance, Geraldton and Kwinana terminals combined during the 2021-22 marketing.
It means AAAX now sits alongside Australian and multinational companies including Australian Grain Exports, Cargill, GrainCorp, LDC and Viterra, as well as CBH’s own trading division, as a bulk shipper of WA grain.
With a terminal at Albany also, WA operates four of the state’s five bulk grain terminals, with Bunge’s facility at Bunbury being the fifth.
Eyes on South-east Asia
WA is Australia’ biggest grain-exporting state by far, and has a freight advantage over eastern states and South Australia in South-east Asian markets including Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam.
The company is initially looking to sell wheat and feed barley into these markets, and possibly China for wheat, to kick off its bulk program.
AAAX has moved into bulk as a progression from exporting containerised product to Asia and the Middle East out of Melbourne and Sydney.
Mr Foulsham said the JV already had plans to grow prior to the shortage of containers and shipping space impacting the boxed trade.
“It’s probably made us realise we’ve made the right decision to get to the scale we want to get to.
“There’s as much work in doing 500t in containers as there is in doing 50,000t in bulk, so it will certainly speed up the process.”
Mr Foulsham said AAAX would potentially be a fob and c and f seller into markets to the north and west.
“ARIA has contacts in the Middle East and Africa and we’re working together.
“Between us we’ve got a pretty extensive network.”
AAAX is using Clear Grain Exchange (CGE) to provide its settlement services, and will be acquiring grain on a free-in-store basis out of CBH sites.
“We’re new to the bulk space, and to give growers comfort in dealing with us, we’re using CGE,” Mr Foulsham said.
“That way, growers don’t give up title on the grain they’ve sold until they’ve been paid.
“We’re going out to field days, and meeting growers directly if we can.
“We’ve gotten a great response so far.
“A lot of the growers are happy to see someone new giving it a go.”
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