A VESSEL is loading in Geelong this week to mark the first cargo for a newcomer to the Australian grain-exporting landscape, LW Investments Australia.
Its directors are two high-profile Australian farmers, Barry Large from Miling in Western Australia’s Kwinana North port zone, and Andrew Weidemann from Rupanyup in Victoria’s Wimmera region.
The 33,000 tonnes of APW wheat is being loaded by Riordan Grain Services, and is scheduled to sail on Thursday.
Both Mr Large and Mr Weidemann say the cargo is the culmination of four years of work, and they plan to travel to Oman to see it discharge, and meet with the buyer of the entire cargo, Oman Flour Mills.
The cargo includes more than 5000t of wheat grown by Mr Weidemann and family, as well as significant tonnages from other Wimmera farmers, plus parcels put together by two brokers.
“We’ve set up our own supply process,” Mr Weidemann said, adding that word of mouth rather than site bids or other means was responsible for a large chunk of the cargo.
“There’s four years of work behind it.
“It’s a trial shipment with Oman Flour Mills, and we’ll be following it over there.”
While grain from the Large farm cannot be part of the cargo loading only in Geelong, Mr Large said he hoped WA grain could feed into LWIA’s supply chain in seasons to come.
“Hopefully there’ll be something for the west,” Mr Large said.
Matching offering to requirements
The Sultanate of Oman is a regular customer of Australia’s, and Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates it bought 200,000t of the 27.6 million tonnes of Australian wheat shipped in the year to 30 September 2022.
OFM is one of Oman’s major flour millers, and Mr Large said its interest in buying wheat to specification was aligned with LWIA’s to supply just what the customer wanted.
“They were in the market looking for someone, and they came across us.
“It’s been a long process, and it’s been satisfying that we’ve been able to do what we’ve done.”
“We’re keen to understand their requirements.
“The grain industry evolves and matures, and we’re listening to the customer and trying to provide with what they’re looking.”
Mr Large said “four years’ hard work” had gone into creating the company and getting the first order.
“That’s the bulk of it: to get close to the consumer and understand what the consumer’s looking for.
“That’s what we’ve been able to achieve, and we’ve got a model that works.”
An advance payment based on world parity from OFM enabled LWIA to buy the wheat from growers to exacting specifications.
“We’ve been prudent in what we buy,” Mr Weidemann said.
“We locked in currency and a figure, but the price won’t be finalised for some time.”
“How well it’s worked will be independently assessed,” Mr Large said.
Both Mr Large and Mr Weidemann have extensive experience in grain industry bodies.
Mr Large is currently the chairman of national representative organisation Grain Producers Australia, and succeeded Mr Weidemann in the role.
LWIA has been formed independently by its directors.
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