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Screen_Shot_2015-12-07_at_8.21.01_PMTo start off the 2015/2016 crop season BSI/ASR received 4,600 tons of cane today and the same amount is expected to be received tomorrow. That amount will increase gradually as the crop progresses until it reaches 7,000 tons cane per day. For that to happen there must be a must be a smooth and quick delivery. And that is where this newly installed 40 ton truck dumper comes in. The new equipment, along with a new cabin, comes at a cost over one million dollars and is expected to make the delivery more efficient and safer.

Shawn Chavarria- Financial Controller, BSI/ASR

“The original one which handles approximately 60%  of the cane it was seen that more trucks, it showed the old method of hooking trucks and trailers using the cranes to unload is quite inefficient it takes a long time to turn around but with trucks dumpers we will see an improvement in the turnaround time or the cane to be off loaded here, so this investment here combined with the new modern cane yard cabin is over a million Belize dollars but we expect to see a lot of benefits from it both from an efficiency stand point, safety as well as you can see from some of the footage the operators and drivers of those vehicles when they are loading the cane using the cranes they have to get on top of their trucks they have to hook them off and climb them off and it possess off a safety risk as well but with the truck dumper you go on to the ramp and you hook your truck, you signal that it is ready and the operator in the cane yard cabin offloads it and it takes less than a minute and the truck goes away and the other method we just observed one truck with three trailers take almost half an hour to unload their cargo I mean it is a big difference when you are unloading through this truck dumpers versus the method of loading against the cranes which is on the east and the west side.”

While a new dumper has been installed, there is still the question as to when the company will expand the mill. Currently there is an estimated 1.7 million tons of cane on the field but the factory only has a capacity to mill 1.3 million tons. According to Shawn Chavarria, Financial Controller at BSI/ASR in order for the company to expand the mill, there must be a reduction in the production cost.

Shawn Chavarria- Financial Controller, BSI/ASR

“From our end it is yes our vision to expand the mill but we need certain things in place, we need commitment from growers to improve on harvesting and delivery trying to cut cost as you know the market is changing and with decline in prices we have to look at costs so we can’t say we will expand if we aren’t able to compete at a lower price so that is a priority for us but if we expand to 1.8 and we find that farmers cannot cope with lower prices then you have a mill that is under-utilized because production will start to decline so that plan is very important and we need to have that plan in place to chart the way forward on how we can reduce our harvesting cost or delivery to improve quality because it is a very big commitment on behalf of the company it is over 200 million Belize dollars to expand up to 1.8 million and so to do that sort of investment there has to be commitment from all stakeholders including the government, including farmers and from ourselves as well before we can take that step.”

And that is where the Strategic Development Plan comes in.

Shawn Chavarria- Financial Controller, BSI/ASR

“There have been working groups that have been looking at planting, trying to lower your cost of planting improving the varieties so to get more sugar from your cane we have groups looking at harvesting and delivery how we can reduce the cost of cutting and delivering cane to the mill we also having a group looking at the finance components, how farmers can get better access to credit on more favorable terms and conditions and all these things we hope can come together to help the industry become more competitive, we have been working for the past year on it and it is our hope that stakeholders will continue on the process to finalize that strategic development plan.”

We will have more on the Sugar Industry in tomorrow newscast.

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