By Brian Cross
BroadGrain Commodities is the latest company to announce a major investment in western Canada’s grain handling infrastructure.
The Toronto-based grain company announced Jan. 14 that it plans to spend up to $25 million building a new high throughput elevator in Winnipeg, as well as a bean-processing and container packing facility.
The new facilities will be part of CentrePort Canada’s inland port development in northwest Winnipeg and will be an anchor tenant for CentrePort’s soon to be developed 700-acre rail facility, CentrePort Rail Park.
BroadGrain’s proposed operations will be capable of loading 150-car unit trains.
The facilities will include terminal storage, transloading and processing capacity and will be linked to the Canadian Pacific Railway network.
Construction of BroadGrain’s facilities is expected to begin in 2016 along with construction of rail infrastructure that serves the new facilities.
A completion date for the grain handling and processing facilities has not been announced but it is possible that BroadGrain could begin receiving grain at the CentrePort location this fall.
“This investment will solidify our ongoing commitment not only to the Western Canadian farmer but also to our global consumers providing an alternative shipping method,” said Zaid Qadoumi, president and chief executive officer at BroadGrain.
BroadGrain is already an established exporter of grains, oilseeds and specialty crops.
Globally, the company trades about 1.6 million tonnes of grain, oilseeds, special crops and processing byproducts per year and has annual revenues in excess of $600 million.
Until recently, the company’s only western Canadian operation was the former Lakeside Global Grains facility at Dafoe, Sask., about 150 kilometres north of Regina.
That was acquired by BroadGrain in 2011 and is involved primarily in processing mustard, lentils, peas and specialty crops for export.
Earlier this year, BroadGrain opened a Winnipeg trading office to assist with logistics and grain procurement in Western Canada.
The company’s only other Canadian operations include a business office at Stratford, Ont., an elevator at Brinston, Ont., an elevator at Seaforth, Ont., and an export terminal, also at Seaforth.
Diane Gray, president and chief executive officer with CentrePort Canada, said the agreement with BroadGrain will kick start plans to develop the new 700-acre rail facility.
She said the agreement will allow CentrePort to start construction of the rail park this spring.
Under terms of the agreement, which are subject to final approval, CentrePort will be responsible for establishing and owning leads and switches off the CP mainline.
Jason Phillips, vice-president of strategic development with BroadGrain, said about two-thirds of the company’s annual grain exports are sourced outside of Canada.
The CentrePort facilities will expand the company’s footprint on Canadian soil and increase its ability to handle high volume crops such as wheat, canola and soybeans.
“We wanted to expand our capabilities to originate Canadian bulk export crops,” Phillips said.
“It’s always been a bit of an irony that as a Canadian company, we don’t do bulk exports out of Canada so CentrePort really represents the first step in a strategic decision to expand our inland terminal network to originate those high volume commodities.”