Island Road funding to boost Koo Wee Rup’s agribusiness

Cardinia Shire’s agriculture sector will soon be transporting better quality produce to market, more efficiently with support from the Victorian state government.

Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford today announced a $90,000 investment from the second round of grants through the Labor Government’s Local Roads to Market program.

Pulford said, “The Koo Wee Rup community knows Agriculture is one of this state’s most important industries and we’re delighted to work with growers and local councils to deliver these grants.”

“Our farm businesses and their supply chains will see improved productivity and be in a better position to compete in international markets because of this investment.”

“These upgrades will improve agribusiness and supply chain productivity and improve the country road network for all users.”

The grant, along with a co-investment from Cardinia Shire Council and industry, will construct and seal the last remaining section of Island Road in Koo Wee Rup.

The Island Road upgrades will seal the gravel section, reduce dust contamination and bruising during transportation, and improve the quality of produce freighted from farms and parking sheds in the area.

Koo Wee Rup and the adjoining Dalmore area produces most of Victoria’s asparagus. More than 7,500 tonnes of produce grown, picked and transported to market each season, with over 60 per cent exported to Asia.

It will be especially beneficial for local primary producers near this section of unsealed road, who transport millions of dollars in produce on the road each year.

The $25 million Local Roads to Market program is a key pillar of the Labor Government’s Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund and supports rural, regional and outer-suburban councils to improve road transport connections.

The Island Road upgrade is one of 39 projects worth $24 million to be delivered under the second round of the program. The first funded 29 projects worth $22.2 million across regional and rural Victoria in 2017.


ICA keeps the Coopers flowing

Recently, Industrial Conveying (Aust) completed a project for glass bottle manufacturer Orora Glass. Warehouse manager Darren Boswell said ICA was the obvious choice when faced with a logistics and materials handling problem.

“Our client, Coopers Brewery, installed a system to automate the removal of packaging from the pallets with a robot that cuts the straps. This presented us with a problem because Coopers then required the pallets to be delivered without the stretch wrap that supports the straps.” 

Boswell explained that Orora’s trailers were not engineered to deliver the quantity of bottles required by Coopers without that stretch wrap in place. As a result, the pallets – each containing 4400 glass bottles – were collapsing in transit. The cost of both clean up and replacement was significant.

After purchasing new trailers engineered to support the load, Orora found the loading docks needed to be modified to fit the trailer dimensions. Without these modifications, the loading and unloading of the trailers added 40 minutes of manual handling time to each load.

“We engaged ICA to go onsite and look at the problem. Not only were they the OEM for the docks, but having worked with them before we were confident in their expertise.”

ICA has a long history in the beverage industry, with many clients now using roll-on roll off docks to automate the loading and unloading of pallets. This optimises efficiency by reducing the time required to complete the task from 40 minutes to as little as five minutes. It also enables staff to be redeployed to other areas of the business, maximising productivity.

ICA General Manager Bruce Granger said the idea is to automate docks so virtually no manual handling is involved.
"The less handling, the better the return per truck trip.  When you take into consideration that most depots have the capacity to load and unload on a 24/7 basis, over the course of each financial year our clients see very significant returns.”

As well as the financial benefits of modifying the docks to fit the trailers, Boswell said there were three key performance indicators used to quantify the success of the project: fast turnaround time, minimal disruption to deliveries and a willingness to work around the client. 

“Knowing that ICA is an Australian company with a network of local suppliers gave us the confidence that we could get this done with minimal fuss. ICA sent its team to South Australia on the weekends to complete the work in between deliveries. The process was faultless from concept to completion.”