GrainsConnect announces new build at Huxley, Alta.

Grain handling company GrainsConnect Canada plans to build a high-throughput grain terminal in Huxley, Alta.

It would be the company’s fourth high-throughput concrete grain terminal in Western Canada.

GrainsConnect said June 1 that it will build at Huxley, about 120 kilometres northeast of Calgary.

Similar to GrainsConnect’s other facilities, the Huxley terminal will have 35,000 tonnes of grain storage capacity and a 134-car loop track, the first of its kind in the region.

The facility is expected to be able to load a 134-unit grain train in less than 14 hours.

“There has been strong grower interest in this area for more choice and we are excited to deliver a state-of-the-art facility to the region,” said Warren Stow, president of GrainsConnect Canada.

The company is a joint venture between Australian grain company GrainCorp and Japan-based Zen-Noh Grain Corp.

It announced plans in late 2015 to build four concrete grain elevators in Western Canada, joining a flurry of industry investment that followed deregulation of the western Canadian grain industry in 2012.

The other GrainsConnect facilities are at Maymont, Sask., Reford, Sask., and Vegreville, Alta.

The Maymont site is furthest advanced with a projected opening date set for this fall.

Stow said the Huxley facility will be served by Canadian National Railway and will create the equivalent of 50 full-time jobs during construction and 12-15 jobs when it opens.

GrainConnect’s total investment Prairie assets was initially estimated at about $120 million, or about $30 million per elevator.

Stow said in a recent interview that the company is finalizing a deal to secure west coast port access.

GrainsConnect’s latest investment comes amid talk of narrowing margins in the global grain handling industry and speculation that industry consolidation be-tween existing companies could be imminent.

Last month, global commodity trader Glencore, whose assets including controlling interest in Viterra, confirmed that it is exploring a potential takeover or joint venture with American trader Bunge Ltd.

Global grain industry analysts say that could signal the beginning of a new era of consolidation in the industry, which is suffering from declining commodity values and increased competition in the grain handling industry.

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