Herbert River sugar harvest sails

Herbert River canegrowers prepare for 2019 harvest with shipment

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Local growers Melissa Royale, Miranda Peitrobon, Ellie McVeigh, Remo Peitrobon, Shannon OBrien, Jenny Davis, Mike Davis and Hayden Di Bella visit the STL Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal to view the sugar loading process as part of a series of terminal tours organised by QSL. Picture supplied.

Local growers Melissa Royale, Miranda Peitrobon, Ellie McVeigh, Remo Peitrobon, Shannon OBrien, Jenny Davis, Mike Davis and Hayden Di Bella visit the STL Lucinda Bulk Sugar Terminal to view the sugar loading process as part of a series of terminal tours organised by QSL. Picture supplied.

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The 50,000 tonne cargo of raw sugar that sailed from Lucinda last week has helped the Herbert River district prepare for the incoming crop.

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The 50,000 tonne cargo of raw sugar that sailed from Lucinda last week has helped the Herbert River district prepare for the incoming crop.

Valued at $20m at current prices, the shipment was bound for Indonesia and has emptied the terminal for the 2019 harvest, according to Queensland Sugar Limited.

The local QSL marketing team gave local farmers an opportunity to view the sugar loading process as part of a series of terminal tours during the loading process.

According to QSL's executive manager, marketing and risk, Mark Hampson, while the 2018 season was a mixed bag for local growers, with high sugar levels in Herbert River and Burdekin cane offset by lower world sugar prices, the market outlook was more promising for 2019.

"Returns for the past couple of years have really been shaped by a record global sugar surplus, so as the market starts to work through these sugar stocks, we're more optimistic about a recovery in prices for the season ahead," he said.

QSL is Australia's largest sugar marketing company and Mr Hampson said the lower global raw sugar prices of the past season highlighted the importance of the efforts of the grower's chosen marketer.

"Absolutely every dollar counts. As an industry-owned organisation, QSL is focused on maximising returns to those who use our services by leveraging our not-for-profit status, long-term customer relationships in high-value Asian markets and the economies of scale that come from being the only marketer exporting through all six of the state's bulk sugar terminals," he said.

"The way we operate ensures the money we make from selling sugar grown in North Queensland is returned to North Queensland, with local growers using QSL getting their fair share of our net profits."

Mr Hampson said while QSL's 2018 season results would not be finalised until early next month, they were set to once again outperform the market.

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