Rail infrastructure offers competitive edge for Riverina canola oil producer

Each September, the Riverina is blanketed in yellow with canola fields in full bloom. Year round an integrated oilseed crushing and refining plant in Wagga Wagga is busy creating a superior oil for the food industry and vegetable protein meal for poultry, dairy and animal feed.

Riverina Oils is on the doorstep of the Inland Rail Albury to Illabo alignment and the Riverina Intermodal Freight Terminal

Riverina Oils Chief Executive Officer Scott Whiteman said the plant is part of the region’s ecosystem and its innovative plans for the future to meet domestic and international demand for canola oil were dependent on efficient logistics. It already ships about 32,000 tonnes of oil, equating to approximately 1500, 22-tonne containers a year.

“We crush 200,000 tonnes of canola seed a year, all brought in by truck within a 100-150km radius from the plant,” Mr Whiteman said. “We currently export 40 per cent of our oil via rail to the ports of Melbourne and Sydney on route to Asia and the US (United States).”

“Domestically we deliver to our customers by road, but we are also exploring rail in the future as well,” he said.

As demand for canola oil increases, Riverina Oils needs efficient supply chain infrastructure to be competitive.

“We are located in the region where we get our product from about 50km away and that is suitable for road freight transport,” Mr Whiteman said. “In the drought years we still have the same customer demand, and will need to source the seed from further afield. We also need storage facilities on rail to do that efficiently.”

Mr Whiteman said that with the Inland Rail alignment and the Riverina Intermodal Freight Terminal (RIFT) on the doorstep will assist Riverina Oils to continue innovating its products and expand its markets.

Already, it has developed a superior longer-lasting frying oil and revolutionised a food safety trolley to hold the vacuum-sealed oil. The trolley is packed in Wagga Wagga and delivered to restaurants, cafes and venues for use in commercial kitchens across Australia’s eastern seaboard.

Mr Whiteman said ideally the future of freight would enable a customised container to be packed and directly loaded from Riverina Oils’ Wagga Wagga plant on to freight trains travelling via Inland Rail to boost safety and efficiencies.

“Inland Rail and the RIFT combine to provide canola oil from the Riverina paddock to global plates with exceptional efficiency,” he said.