What’s happening in fertiliser operations at CSBP?
To meet the current WA market, we’ve been busy getting all our sheds and depots full over the last few months, particularly with local production runs of Super Phos products and granulated fertilisers.
We now have plenty of stock on hand to meet the needs of our customers with all solids despatch plants and Flexi-N despatch plants up and running. We’ve also opened the despatch plants for extended hours, from 6:00am to 9:00pm on weekdays, plus Saturday mornings from 6:00am to 12:00pm. As always, the Flexi-N despatches are available 24x7.
How much fertiliser has your team despatched this year?
We’ve despatched over 500,000 tonnes of product (both solids and liquids) from Kwinana between the start of the year and the end of May. There was fantastic uptake from customers earlier in the year, and we despatched higher quantities in January and February than in previous years.
There is still reasonable availability in our appointment books, and while I recognise that there are difficulties in getting transport to collect product at the moment, I would really encourage our customers to get in as soon as possible and take advantage of the available stock before the appointment book fills up.
Tell us about CSBP’s despatch facilities and capacity? How have you been going despatching Flexi-N?
At our Kwinana site we have four solid despatch plants doing superphosphate products and compound fertilisers such as the Agras and K-Till product families, and three Flexi-N plants. With the extended opening hours, we currently have good availability for appointments at all our despatch plants. We can send out over 10,000 tonnes per day of Flexi-N and solid fertilisers from our despatch plants.
Flexi-N despatches have been steady, with plenty of capacity still available to meet demand. The maintenance team has recently implemented new routine checks of the Flexi-N load stations which are now carried out weekly. This is an action in response to the carrier surveys the production team has undertaken in the last few months and helps ensure Flexi-N is available when the customer needs it.
What key products have you been despatching over the last few months?
We’ve seen a good variety of products going out in the last few months, with Flexi-N, Agras Extra, K-Till Extra and of course Super Phos being among the main products despatched.
How do operations and sales work together to shape despatching plans to meet customer demands?
We spend a fair bit of time coordinating between the production, despatch, sales and our supply chain teams to ensure that we have the right product available, at the right time and in the right place for our customers.
There are regular meetings between all teams to plan when and what we produce, when imported product is arriving, and how we move product between Kwinana and Country Depots to meet the forecasts from our sales team.
What’s been the most rewarding part of despatching fertiliser for this season?
As my first season in fertilisers, it’s been great to see product starting to go out to customers. This is product going out to farms and playing a role in producing what will hopefully be another sizeable crop for 2022, following last year. It’s exciting to see the appointments build up and trucks filling up, and I look forward to seeing the sheds getting empty as fertilisers are sent out to farms.
What’s an obstacle the despatch team has overcome this season?
One of the big concerns this season has been the impact of COVID-19. Broadly speaking, this has affected us all in terms of our work, our families and our everyday lives. When it comes to the workplace, there are challenges in keeping our workers and customers safe through measures such as vaccination and mask requirements, along with regular testing for our workers. This all helps ensure we have the team available to keep our plants running and can continue despatching product to our customers. Specifically, we have plans in place for when staff cannot work when they either contract COVID-19 or need to isolate as a close contact, including trained back-up operators from other divisions within CSBP.
So far, these measures have meant that there hasn’t been any interruption to the supply of fertilisers, but there is still more of the season to go, and COVID-19 continues to have an impact. While we have avoided this obstacle so far, we need to remain vigilant to ensure customers can continue to collect fertilisers from us.
What do you enjoy most about your job at CSBP?
There is a fantastic team of people working here at CSBP, and I’m really enjoying working with them. Even though I’ve spent twenty years with WesCEF, I’ve only been in my current role for about six months. CSBP has really made me feel welcome and supported me while I’ve learned the role.
How important is safety to the despatch team?
Safety plays a large role in the despatch team. The handling and movement of product around our sites using heavy vehicles such as front-end loaders and trucks represents one of the larger risks of operating at CSBP. These vehicular risks had a particular focus in March with a safety campaign to identify vehicle-related hazards on site. The campaign identified many hazards which we are now able to rectify and make the site safer for both ourselves and our customers.
Image: CSBP Kwinana site from above.