Australian wheat exporter AWB Limited is delivering the first wheat supplies to Iraq since recent hostilities began, with last night’s berthing of the MV Pearl of Fujairah at Kuwait.
AWB Managing Director Andrew Lindberg announced that the arrival of the vessel will enable the immediate delivery of the first load of 50,860 tonnes of urgently needed humanitarian wheat supplies to the Iraqi people.
"We delivered the first wheat supplies after the hostilities in 1991, and we have overcome a number of obstacles to be able to do it again," said Mr Lindberg.
"AWB will deliver and discharge the wheat, and after it is milled at port, the World Food Program will distribute the bagged flour to the people with immediate needs.
"AWB has a 54 year association with the people of Iraq and we have worked day and night to find solutions to deliver the wheat following the suspension of the previous UN Oil-for-Food program and the worrying loss of contact with our associates in the Iraqi Grains Board.
"We have been able to secure an outcome which brings food to the Iraqi people at their moment of need while protecting the interests of Australian wheatgrowers - a testament to the value of the single desk.
"Safety concerns with the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr led us to identify Kuwait as the best alternative given it is only a short distance away, has excellent flour milling capabilities and good road access to Iraq to allow the supplies to get through on time.
"Our excellent relationship with the management of Kuwait Flour Mills, which uses 100% Australian wheat, was critically important in being able to reach this solution and their assistance has been much appreciated," Mr Lindberg said.
The 50,860 tonne cargo of the Pearl of Fujairah originated in South Australia and was loaded at Port Adelaide and Port Lincoln with Australian Hard (AH) wheat to meet the specific requirements of the Iraqi people.
Mr Lindberg said the second AWB vessel carrying a further 50,000 tonnes of wheat is anchored in safe waters near Oman, pending arrangements to proceed to another port which can provide rapid flour milling of the humanitarian wheat cargo.