GrainCorp’s storage and logistics network plays a crucial part in connecting Australia’s farmers with export opportunities around the world. With increasing demand for Australian grain in nearby Asian markets, future-proofed export infrastructure is of vital importance to the success of Australia’s agriculture sector.

Project Regeneration was launched to improve efficiencies of GrainCorp’s storage network in the Australia’s Eastern grain belt, with the primary objectives of increasing volumes, decreasing turnaround times and expediting train cycle times.

The Coonamble project specifically, will deliver a new rail loader with 3000 pre-position tonnes capable of loading a 48 wagon train.

Initial Scope:

SOTO was approached by head contractors Bellingham Engineering when GrainCorp launched Project Regeneration for their existing Coonamble grain storage and loading facility. The upgrade involved civil and structural engineering on major components including grain bins, conveyors, bucket elevator, and rail & truck loading facilities.


Chosen for proven experience in the agribusiness sector and bulk materials handling, SOTO used the initial GrainCorp Concept, and added significant value by assessing site constraints posed by the existing rail corridor necessitating all footings be designed separately around the easement. The building height restriction of 28.4 metres imposed by the local airport was also considered, and impacted the internal installation heights of conveyors and Garner bins.

SOTO was responsible for all civil engineering and structural design, encompassing the new bucket elevator as well as the giant grain storage bins (3 x 1250T each) shown in the 3D design models below. The SOTO structural steel design effort was enhanced through the use of TEKLA which aided in the 3D layout of chutes, conveyors, silos and platforms. Connection details and steel detailing were efficiently produced along with making plans and NC files to enable the rapid shop cutting and drilling of steel sections.

At present, key structures are being fabricated – the 200 tonnes of steel required being indicative of the scale of the components. Work on the bucket elevator is proceeding apace, while the mechanical equipment and drive systems have already been procured.


With the civil engineering work now completed, the SOTO team are set to commence work on the next stage, which includes new rail loading bins and structures to be constructed over the railway lines for the loading operation. The team is awaiting access to the rail corridor for this latter stage of the project.

The SOTO designed civil and structural components will deliver higher volumes to maximise the efficiency of inload and outload and achieve much-improved turnaround times, meaning more tonnes per hour throughput, quicker train cycle times aiding to reduce freight costs and unlock better silo prices for growers.


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