Location Spotlight: Plum Grove

Location: Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia

Affiliate: ​Plum Grove Pty Ltd.

Year Opened: 2003

Products/Services offered by the affiliate: 

Plum Grove is a privately owned grain accumulation and export business. It operates under a service model and accumulates bulk cargos for supply to our shareholders Seaboard, Salim Group and Mitsui.

Plum Grove also owns a subsidiary in New South Wales (Australia) called Agrigrain. Our core business in NSW includes grain trading, container packing, grading, storage and handling.

A normal day at Fremantle:

The days can look quite different at the two locations. Both comprise of commodity trading desks but in NSW we have an operations and logistics function which includes farmer deliveries, container packing and loading trains to transport the product to port.

How many employees work at Fremantle:

Across the two locations we have 54 employees. 18 employees at Plum Grove (WA) and 36 employees at Agrigrain (NSW). During the harvest period employee numbers increase in NSW to cater for receivals of grain from our grower customers.

What are the typical daily challenges Fremantle faces?

Production risk – Production risk is a concern for our business and many parts of Eastern Australia are experiencing drought this year, in particular.  Fortunately, the geographical spread of the business reduces some of the risk.  Western Australia grain production is forecasted to produce above average grain yields.

Price management risk – Like many of Seaboard’s affiliates we are dealing with price risk every day. We manage significant commodity and FX derivative positions and need a disciplined approach to managing these exposures.

Supply chain challenges – Managing quality through different logistics and port capacity arrangements across Australia is also a challenge. In most cases we are dealing with very large monopoly service providers for logistics and port capacity.

Are there any new projects developing at Fremantle?

We are currently undertaking a company-wide systems review to upgrade and established a common financial accounting system. An important part of this is the delivery of immediate or live reporting systems for grower clients to improve service experience.

What makes Fremantle unique or different to others?

The grain industry is a competitive space however we operate under a unique service model for our Shareholders at Plum Grove. We are not considered traders as such but primarily work on a fee for service basis to deliver the most cost effective outcome for our shareholders in securing access to grain in a highly competitive market.

What was the last social event, gathering, or celebration you had at Fremantle?

Social events are an important part of our culture and team building experience.  One of our most enjoyable and memorable events was the Corporate Challenge at Plum Grove.  The teams had an amazing race around Fremantle and had to capture many of the historic sites and problem solve their way to the finish line.  Our Managing Director (Andrew Young) team took out the win.

     

How’s life in this location? Weather, economy, infrastructure, traffic, government, society, etc.?

Perth is rated in the top 10 as the most livable cities in the world and is one amongst a few of the places in Australia where you can watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean.

As residents of Perth we enjoy hot, dry summers and mild winters.  In the afternoons in summer a sea breeze called the “Fremantle Doctor” provides some relief from the heat. Our summers sit on average temperatures between 17.5- 30° celsius (63.5-86° F) and our winters are relatively cool and wet with average temperatures between 8-19° celsius (46.4-66.2° F).

Climate and lifestyle is fabulous in Perth as we have amazing beaches and the beautiful Swan River.

Western Australia and Australia in general has a growing population, good investment in infrastructure, a strong economy, low interest rates and a stable government.  The Western Australia economy relies heavily on the resources sector and agricultural sector.

What is special about Fremantle’s location? Touristic spots or interesting things to see and do, etc.

The harbor of Fremantle is the biggest and busiest general cargo port and an important historical site of Western Australia. The Plum Grove office looks over the Inner Harbor which handles a large volume of seas containers, vehicle imports, livestock exports, cruise shipping and navel visits.

The Outer Harbor is located 20km south at Kwinana and this handles the bulk cargos and the most relevant to us, grain cargos.

Fremantle is a tourist hot spot that is known for its Maritime history, the Fremantle prison which housed many convicts, the Fishing Harbor and the Georgian and Victorian era architecture.