A PROJECT aimed at giving South Australian farmers a new way of shipping grain to global markets is closer after the delivery of a transhipment vessel.

The purpose-built transhipemt vessel Lucky Eyre arrived at the Lucky Bay grain port on the Eyre Peninsula late last week.

The MV Lucky Eyre is at T-Ports’ site where it will be used to load grain from port onto ocean-going vessels – up to Panamax size – waiting in deeper water five nautical miles out at sea.

The Lucky Eyre is an 87-metre self-propelled, self-discharging ship with a capacity of between 3,300 and 3,500 tonnes and a loading capacity of up to 13,800 tonnes a day.

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Its design is said to be based on vessels such as the MV Aburri, which has been used for the past two decades for transhipment of lead nitrate in northern Queensland.

T-Ports has spent more than two years developing the $130m Lucky Bay port.

The T-Ports model, which has been supported by local farmers, means growers are expected to be able to access multiple small ports that can load vessels up to and including Panamax, reducing transport costs and allowing product to be exported profitably.

The first export shipments of grain from the 2019 harvest are expected to leave Lucky Bay in the coming months. T-Ports is planning to host an opening event in April which will provide an opportunity to view the port and transhipment vessel.

The company is also planning a second transhipment grain port on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, which is one of Australia’s premier barley-growing regions.

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