Today we are proud to be Australia's largest agribusiness with diversified operations that span four continents and the global food supply chain.
The NSW Grain Elevators Board (GEB) — the business that would later become GrainCorp — was established by the NSW Department of Agriculture in 1916 to modernise grain handling in Australia. At the time, grain was still being manually handled in hessian sacks — an expensive and time-consuming process in an increasingly mechanised world.
The commissioning of Australia's first bulk grain export terminal in Glebe and a network of country elevators around the state laid the foundations for Eastern Australia's largest grain handling and storage network, connecting rural communities by rail to eastern seaboard ports. The network was managed by the GEB until 1992, when the business was privatised and re-named GrainCorp.
Today, we operate 180 elevators spread over 3,000km from Mackay in Queensland, through NSW to Portland, Victoria with a combined storage capacity of 20 million tonnes. Seven bulk grain export elevators carry an average of 5 million tonnes of grain each year.
In 1996, we became the first bulk handler to trade grain within Australia with the establishment of GrainCorp Marketing. Today, GrainCorp Marketing is represented in all major grain growing regions of Australia while international markets are served through global offices in North America, the UK, Europe, China and Singapore.
In 1998, we were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, which signalled the beginning of strong growth through acquisition.
The purchase of Vicgrain in 2000 and Queensland company Grainco in 2003 expanded our operations along Eastern Australia, while the acquisition of Allied Mills in a joint venture with US agribusiness Cargill in 2002 was the first step of our diversification strategy. This acquisition marked the beginning of our bakery products and milling business and we are now Australia's largest supplier of edible flours and value added food products.
The deregulation of Australian wheat exports in 2008 provided global opportunity and the chance for further diversification.
Our position as one of the world's top four maltsters began with the acquisition of United Malt Holdings in 2009, followed by Germany's Schill Malz in 2011. With operations in Australia, Canada, USA, the UK and Germany, our quality and expertise is sought by leading global brewers as well as the craft beer and distillery sectors. To meet growing demand, we are currently expanding our North American malt production capacity through a 75 million US dollar investment in our Great Western Malting facility in Pocatello, Idaho USA.
Further diversification through acquisition led to the establishment of GrainCorp Oils in 2012. We are proud to be the largest integrated edible oils business in Australia and New Zealand, producing a wide range of quality food and animal feed products including specialist ingredients for infant nutrition. We have also invested $125 million to create a state-of-the-art processing hub in Victoria for refining and distributing oilseed products.
Ongoing innovation and investment ensures we are creating new opportunities for growers and customers in Australia and around the world. In a joint venture with the Zen-Noh Grain Corporation of Japan, we are developing a game-changing supply chain model in Western Canada that builds on global demand for quality grain and oilseed products. Closer to home, GrainCorp continues to set the pace for the Australian grains industry with innovative technology and marketing initiatives connecting Australian growers and customers to a world of opportunity.