A new commodity logistics hub planned for southeastern Saskatchewan should be ready to take deliveries of wheat, oilseeds and other agricultural crops this fall if not earlier, according to investors in the project.
Officials with Toronto-based Ceres Global Ag Corp. said construction of a proposed $90 million transportation hub is expected to commence this spring, subject to permits, approvals and agreements with project partners.
The facility will be built in stages and capable of handling 40 million bushels of grain annually once construction is completed in three years.
“We hope to be doing both grain and oil by mid to late fall and to the extent that we can do things earlier, we will do that,” said Ceres president Michael Detlefsen.
“Both (business segments) will be ramping up over time.”
Ceres announced plans to construct the logistics facility last week in partnership with Scoular, a major agricultural marketing company from the United States.
Scoular already owns grain handling facilities in more than 70 North American locations and has annual commodity sales in excess of $6 billion.
The company, which handles more than 300 million bu. of grain and oilseeds annually, will finance, own and operate the grain handling component of the proposed logistics hub.
Ceres will own and operate a nearby crude oil transloading facility. Crude is expected to account for a major portion of the facility’s annual traffic.
The crude transloading facility will be capable of handling 70,000 barrels of crude oil per day, according to Ceres.
The proposed project will be located a few hundred metres north of the Canada-U.S. border and will provide a direct link to American markets via the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway network, which operates in 28 American states and has a 50,000 kilometre rail network with access to Pacific and Gulf of Mexico port facilities.
BNSF already owns track that crosses the international border and ends at the community of Northgate, Sask.
The railway announced in January that it plans to boost its crude oil business by 40 percent this year to 700,000 barrels a day.
Oil and grain traffic at the facility will be served by two rail loops, each capable of handling unit trains of up to 120 rail cars.
The entire facility will cover 1,500 acres and create 100 temporary jobs during construction and 30 full-time permanent jobs once the hub is fully operational.
“The Northgate hub is good news for Canada’s economy and particularly good for Saskatchewan and western Canada,” said Detlefsen.
“It will help ease the bottleneck of getting commodities — especially grain and oil — out of Saskatchewan and will provide a new and competitive option for shippers and exporters.”