Harwood Mill's latest $8.2 million facility set to open
THE latest extension of the Harwood Sugar Mill has reached completion stage, with a new $8.2 million goods warehouse and silo storage facility soon to be put into action.
Funding for the project was split 50-50 between a Federal Government grant and Sunshine Sugar, and Page MP Kevin Hogan was at Harwood Sugar Mill yesterday to officially inspect the new facility.
Mr Hogan said the facility will bring greater job security for the mill and the broader sugar industry and Lower Clarence economy.
"This is a really exciting day in the growth and development of Sunshine Sugar because a number of years ago Sunshine Sugar came to me and they wanted to built this logistics warehouse worth $8.2 million to improve their efficiencies to make sure they were getting their product to market at a cheaper price," Mr Hogan said.
"This type of logistical building will be able to do that. This is a massive 8.2 million investment into the future of the sugar industry in Harwood.
"It will guarantee, not only the 150 direct jobs, but the 1200-1500 indirect jobs associated with the mill. These jobs rely on the sugar industry being productive and competitive and being able to get the product to market cheaply, and this warehouse will allow that to happen.
"Today I have been able to see what has been achieved with the $4.1 million Government grant."
Sunshine Sugar CEO Chris Connors said from a logistical point of view the new facility was a positive.
"This is all part of our strategic business plan and at the end of the day we know we can't stay the same as we have been in the past we need to diversity and this is part of our diversification program," he said.
"(The facility) enables us to give flexibility to our logistics and the way we manage our stock of product and the way we operate so this will deliver some strategic efficiencies, particularly on the logistics side of things.
"It also takes major traffic out of suburban areas, rather than delivering from a warehouse in Sydney or Melbourne we're delivering from here and that's just a direct delivery so you take a lot of that transport back-ups that are in the city out of the system.
With Sunshine Sugar looking to expand their product range to broaden the consumer appeal of their products, Mr Connors said the goods warehouse and silo storage facility will be put to good use.
"There is 4-5,000 tonnes of storage available, which is important for our new products, including our low GI sugar," he said.
"It is a modern facility with a dual-roller door system which includes a fast-acting emergency door, required for a food-grade building. It has also been built well above the 1-in-100 year flood level.
"This new warehouse and silo wouldn't have been possible without the co-funding from the Government."