Original article by Cameron England – The Advertiser
A $100 million port to be built at Lucky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula is being proposed by a consortium including former banker and Crows chairman Rob Chapman and commodities expert Ed Peter.
The group says the project, near Cowell, is well advanced following discussions with local grain growers and relevant government authorities.
It is now looking to raise the money needed to build and operate the port.
Lucky Bay has formerly been used as a docking point for the ferry which ran between Cowell and Wallaroo, and there was a previous proposal to export iron ore from there.
The new investor group, which includes Adelaide-based Inheritance Capital Asset Management (ICAM) and Mr Peter’s Duxton Capital, intends to build a port at Lucky Bay.
Grain would be loaded and shipped out to deeper water where large ships bound for the export market would be loaded.
The proponents are aiming to raise $25-$35 million from investors to help build the port.
Crows chairman Rob Chapman is part of a consortium wanting to build a port on the Eyre Peninsula.
Mr Chapman said grain growers were being encouraged to also invest in the project, which would give them an alternative to the existing ports in SA.
“We’re going to transship from Lucky Bay out into the Gulf St Vincent where we will transship to the bigger ships then export that grain,’’ Mr Chapman said.
“There are some significant cost reductions for farmers, so the business case is quite compelling for them to use this port.
“The farmers also get a unique opportunity to invest in this. We want them to be owners because when you own something you want it to succeed.’’
The farmers could invest either by simply putting money in or earning a small stake for each tonne of grain they exported through the terminal, up to a cap.
It is expected that farmers in the local area would save $10 to $25 per tonne in freight costs by using the new port. Mr Chapman and his investment partners will be starting an investment roadshow on Monday to raise money for the project.
“We’re factoring into the business case to build some grain storage facilities to broaden the catchment area but, in the first instance, from the following season, we will support the local catchment area and who knows where you go from there?’’ he said.
“It’s about bringing the port to the product rather than the other way around.’’
Initially only large investors and farmers will be able to invest however the intent is that retail investors will also be involved.
Mr Chapman said the project would create 50 to 60 jobs and provide a welcome boost to the regional economy.
Currently there is a dock and minor port at the site which will be developed into the larger facility, with storage and transshipping infrastructure.
The port could also be used for imports such as fertiliser, which are currently trucked to the peninsula from Port Adelaide.