In a decade, Southern Cotton in the NSW Riverina has grown from a first-year production of 166,000 bales to a total of 1.5 million bales bound for the Port of Melbourne.
At the same time, the home-grown gin in Whitton has transitioned from relying entirely on road-based freight to a mixed logistics system that is increasingly being supported by rail.
Southern Cotton Executive Director Kate O’Callaghan said decreasing logistics costs were beneficial to merchants and the cotton growers themselves, and enabled the industry to be more competitive in a global market.
“When we built there was a logistical gap for the region…in those first years all that we produced went on the road to Victorian warehouses before being packed into containers for delivery to the port,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“I think with Inland Rail coming to our region it’s only going to bring greater efficiencies, greater weight capacity and quicker turn-around times for containers from the port and back to the ship.”
Logistics has been at the core of Southern Cotton’s incarnation, as cotton farmers growing in the southern region were constantly faced with the burden of freight costs as they were carting their materials up country to northern NSW.
Six farmers took on the financial risk themselves to set up the gin in the Riverina which has since gone on to become an innovative gin, adopting technology that traces the unique identifier in the round modules in the paddock through to the finished bales with a proud “dirt to shirt” ethos.
Ms O’Callaghan said this offers customers valuable agricultural data to ensure quality control and potential improvements in future harvests by identifying cotton quality location in the paddock.
In the last two years, Southern Cotton has taken the next step in diversifying its business, buying a share in Voyager Craft Malt.
They decided to use the barley and grain they grow in rotation with the cotton to supply Voyager Craft Malt with unique grains to supply the craft beer and whiskey brewers and distillers.
Last year, Southern Cotton opened the Whitton Malt House next door to the gin and it now showcases the beers and spirits produced by Voyager Craft Malt, as well as local produce.
“The local craft beer and whiskey has a solid domestic market, but the export potential is completely unrealised,” Ms O’Callaghan said.
“At the moment everything is leaving here on the road. We haven’t even investigated what rail looks like for that part of the business, but in a rapidly expanding business like Southern Cotton, Whitton Malt House and Voyager Craft Malt, continual improvement is always on the agenda and logistics efficiency is at the forefront.”
September 24, 2021
Euroa draft design advertorial
In Euroa, there is not enough clearance under the Anderson Street bridge for double-stacked freight trains. We’ve incorporated feedback so far to develop draft design options showing what a new bridge or vehicle underpass could look like to replace the existing Anderson Street bridge.
September 24, 2021
Benalla draft design advertorial
We understand there is strong support to realign the track in Benalla. That’s why we’ve developed a draft design on what that might look like for the Benalla Station Precinct to compare with the design option for a new bridge.
September 21, 2021
ARTC to unite New South Wales and Queensland through Inland Rail border project
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has harnessed the skills of multi-national construction firm Laing O’Rourke for the delivery of civil works for Inland Rail sections in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland.