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Port proponent taking calls

THE Pastoralist's and Grazier's Association is among the many organisations lobbying Fremantle outer harbour development proponent, James Point, over future assistance with the exportation of bulk materials.

The James Point private consortium is currently in discussions with the government over its proposed land-backed facility in the heart of Kwinana, competing against two other proposals from Fremantle Ports.

Stage one of James Point's proposal, which will provide additional bulk facilities, has already received environmental approval, and the PGA is keen to include storage and handling facilities for WA grain exporters at the site.

PGA Grains chairman Leon Bradley said he had convened a meeting last week between James Point and representatives from the grain trade interested in exploring alternative options for getting grain onto ships other than through Cooperative Bulk Handling.

"The deregulation of export wheat, ending the 70-year-old national wheat monopoly, has made it imperative for both growers and grain exporters to find alternative port facilities," Mr Bradley told WA Business News.

"When James Point is given the go ahead, I don't think it will be very long before there's at least one company or several companies acting together who take up an option to develop James Point as a grain handler.

"A lot of people are ringing me up asking me for his [James Point chairman Chris Whitaker's] contact details, too."

Dr Whitaker admitted he's been very busy on the phone lately.

"A lot of these parties are ringing me up and saying they are very hopeful and very positive and they get the feeling it's going to go ahead and can they talk to us about time lines and the volume of cargo they want to put through," he said.

"We've been working very closely with mining industry and got all sorts of interest from there and the grain one was one of those calls I've been talking about."

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