Riordan Grain celebrates bulk export milestone of 1Mt

Grain Central, April 29, 2021

Jim Riordan inspects grain coming direct from farm to Geelong for bulk export. Photo: Riordan Grain Services

RIORDAN Grain Services yesterday loaded its one millionth tonne of export grain, a milestone that has coincided with the company’s 25th year of operation.

The volume milestone has been achieved in the past four years, despite the challenges of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riordan Grain has been exporting bulk grain from Geelong and Portland in Victoria since 2017.

Prior to bulk exports, the company shipped grain in containers for around 17 years.

Riordan Grain Services managing director, Jim Riordan, said these milestones would not be possible without the dedication of staff, family and friends, and the support of business, industry and community partners.

“The ability for our business to start in 1996 and be where we are today is probably beyond what I’d ever expect we could have achieved,” Mr Riordan said.

“The support of the Council, Government, the Port and the community has been critical to achieving the 1Mt bulk export milestone – to take Australian grain directly from farmers to ports to important overseas markets.

“In fact, the millionth tonne, when we did the calculations, came directly from a farm to the ship at Geelong Port.

“For us as a business that’s our ultimate goal; to see farmers be involved in the whole process from the paddock right through to the ship, which then goes straight to the customers overseas.

“It’s as direct as we can make our supply chain.”

Mr Riordan said the industry, regulators and government helped Riordan Grain, back in 2013, to develop a system that worked to support a fully deregulated grain marketplace.

“While it was some way there, we still had what I deemed to be a regulated supply chain.

“With bulk ship loading, we’ve managed to develop a system that enables us to now go from farms direct on to ships, with no need to go through major port terminals.

“We’ve done over a million tonnes of grain on to bulk vessels, and on top of that we’ve also been supplying our domestic customers and our export container customers.”

Mr Riordan said it is was now a very stable marketplace .

“I think it can operate as a mutually successful system for the industry long term.

“It enables us to have a transparent pricing mechanism when we’re exporting grain, and so the whole marketplace has growers who can sell to many participants, you have a flow of grain, you have liquidity in a marketplace and you have a secure industry that’s paying its bills on time.

“That’s the real bonus for the industry and us as a business.”

Teamwork behind success

Mr Riordan said the business has been nimble and flexible, and this has allowed it to grow.

“My motto is to always be better at what we’re already good at, and if we can continue to do this, it will lead to longevity.

“We can’t have a successful business without good customers, good suppliers, and great staff that get the job done.

“We work hard to build and maintain strong relationships with our key customers across important international grain markets.”

Riordan Grain started at Winchelsea, about 40 kilometres west of Geelong, growing from a one-person operation in 1996 to a $300 million business employing around 100 permanent staff plus contractors.

“We moved from Winchelsea to Lara in 1998, and from there we developed the business of storage and supplying the malting industry here in Geelong.”

Transport manager Joe Strawford, managing director Jim Riordan and general manager Mark Lewis on the berth at Geelong. Photo: Riordan Grain Services

Now the company owns and operates several sites at Geelong, Balliang, Lismore and Edenhope with grain loading undertaken at Geelong and Portland ports.

“On a daily basis we can have anything up to a couple of hundred people involved in one of the processes we have going on throughout the season.

“I am very pleased to say that we still deal with a lot of customers that were there at the start, and many of our team have been with us for more than 10 years, some close to 20.”

In celebrating both milestones with staff, partners, family and friends, Mr Riordan said it was an opportunity for him to thank and recognise the important role they continue to play in the company’s success.

“Their commitment and support make all the difference to our current and long-term success.

“I think there’s a lot of people looking over the fence now saying that agriculture is not a bad place to be.

“There is a massive future and career potential for the young ones that are coming through.

“I am so proud of everything we’ve all achieved, and excited by the future and what we can do.”

Fertiliser included

Riordan Grain Services has been operating from the Geelong region since 1996.

It markets grain, oilseeds, and pulses for domestic and export customers, and is one of the largest privately owned grain businesses that is still family owned in Australia.

Underpinning its success is a strong commitment to exceed grower and customer expectations through constant innovation, emphasis on safety, and accountability.

It is accredited to store and transport imported fertiliser, whole coarse grain and meal products for the Australian market through its privately owned storages.

Coordinating on-farm fertiliser delivery with grain collection means efficient farm operations and cost savings for farmers.

Source: Riordan Grain Services



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