G3 Canada excited about projects on the horizon

Karl Gerrand, chief executive officer with G3 Canada, says the design of his company’s new terminal will contribute to a more efficient flow of train traffic to and from the North Shore. | Brian Cross photo

The top executive with one of Canada’s newest grain handling companies says a state-of-the-art export terminal being built in North Vancouver will set new standards for throughput efficiency and car cycle times in western Canada.

Karl Gerrand, chief executive officer with G3 Canada, described the company’s facility as the crown jewel in a coast-to-coast G3 network that will set “new standards for the Canadian grain industry.”

The soon-to-be-constructed terminal will feature a looped rail system capable of handling three 134-unit grain trains simultaneously.

Incoming trains will be emptied on the move, at low speeds, and will be able unload their entire cargo in roughly six hours without unhooking a single hopper car.

Construction is scheduled to start in March, with completion expected in May of 2020.

“We plan to transform the movement of grain through the west coast, providing Canadian farmers with competitive pricing and reliable delivery opportunities,” Gerrand said.

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G3 officials have not divulged the estimated price of the new facility but industry insiders say its not unreasonable to assume that the final price tag will be in the range of $500 to $600 million.

G3 Global Holdings, the parent company of G3 Canada Ltd., announced in December that it will go ahead with plans to build the terminal, the first new terminal construction that the Port of Vancouver has seen in more than 50 years.

G3 Global Holdings is a limited partnership between the Saudi Agricultural Livestock and Investment Company (SALIC) and Bunge Canada.

Behind the scenes, other new elements in G3’s coast-to-coast network are also taking shape.

According to Gerrand, G3 will build an additional eight to 10 high throughput grain elevators at strategic points across western Canada over the next three years.

At an estimated cost approaching $50 million each, G3’s total spend on Canadian grain handling infrastructure between now and 2020 could easily exceed $1 billion.

“As part of building out our inland origination, we’re looking at an additional eight to 10 inland terminals built across Western Canada with a similar design to the four new inlands that we currently have in operation,” Gerrand said.

“At one point, we will have as many as 10 greenfield projects under way at the same time,” he added. “We do have a number of (inland) sites that we’ve secured already and we are also looking at securing some more so we anticipate some announcements in the very near future.”

G3’s current Canadian assets include four new concrete terminals with loop track access located at Pasqua, Sask., Colonsay, Sask., Bloom, Man., and Glenlea, Man.

With loop track access at its inland elevators and at its future export terminal, G3 will have the ability to load 134-car unit trains in the country, move them directly to port, unload in six hours, and return to the country for another load.

G3’s power-on model will use dedicated locomotives and will not require grain trains to be split up or cars reconfigured.

“This will reduce cycle times by up to 40 percent and increase the velocity and volume of grain that can move through the port.”

Gerrand declined to say where G3’s new inland elevators would be built but said formal announcements were imminent.

The company hopes to have its prairie elevators on-line by the time the new G3 terminal is operational in North Vancouver.

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