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Supply chain opportunities for wool growers
Apr '09
The development of direct trading links between Australian wool growers and global wool processors is a concept gathering momentum.

Elders Wool International Manager, John Roberts, says such direct supply arrangements are an increasingly important alternative to traditional selling methods in the future.

“With wool supplies shrinking and cost pressures increasing, opportunities exist to establish valuable linkages between growers and the international buyers and processors of their wool,” Mr Roberts said.

“Elders expects these opportunities will continue to emerge over the coming years, providing Australian wool growers with worthwhile sales and marketing options.”

Mr Roberts said that the relatively positive medium-term outlook for wool was encouraging, but it was critical that the industry was pro-active in grasping all opportunities to build trade.

Mr Roberts said that Elders had announced it would be renaming its greasy wool procurement business to Elders Wool International (EWI) from BWK Elders Australia Pty Ltd, commonly known as BWK. The change in name will be made in the coming weeks.

Mr Roberts said Elders' decision to rename its greasy wool trading arm allowed the company to clearly define the services it could provide to both its wool growing clients and its off-shore customers.

He said Elders Wool International would continue to invest in exploring and establishing more efficient and cost-effective routes to market, for the benefit of both ends of the supply chain.

“Elders Wool International has the resources and market intelligence mechanisms in place to facilitate tailored mill-direct trading,” Mr Roberts said. “This can work in both directions, from an order from an off-shore mill customer to our growers, or when we have our client's wool available to offer directly to the processor.

“Our customers overseas need access to Australian wool to meet their specifications. Through our buying team and network of District Wool Managers we can provide details of the order and ensure the requirements are met.

“With shrinking supply this becomes increasingly important and Elders is perfectly positioned to offer this service and provide alternatives to the traditional selling methods currently in operation.”

Mr Roberts said Elders wool operations spanned from farm gate right through to processing whereby the company procured wool on behalf of a number of mills and merchants globally, and processed wool in its own right.

Elders maintains a joint venture processing facility in Nanshan, China, that processes 10,000 tonnes of tops annually (70,000 plus bales) and provides fabric to retailers such as Natsun in China and Berwin in the UK.

Due to the increasing dominance of China in purchasing and processing Australian wool, Elders maintains an office in Shanghai, managing the link between processing customer and Elders operations inAustralia.

Elders Rural Services Managing Director, Mike Guerin, said that Elders remained firmly committed to the Australian wool grower and the industry in general.

“Elders continues to deliver the wool agency and auction services for which it is famous. Our clearly differentiated buying service builds upon the quality and service currently offered locally to our customers overseas,” Mr Guerin said.

Elders Limited

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