Construction continues on G3 grain network

G3’s dream of building a coast-to-coast grain-handling network in Canada is moving closer to reality, with key elements under construction and additional facilities likely to be announced in the future.

Brett Malkoske, G3’s vice-president of business development and communications, said construction of G3’s new high-throughput export terminal in North Vancouver is ahead of schedule with the first grain expected at the facility in 2019.

“We’re very pleased with progress at (the West Coast) terminal to date,” Malkoske said in a Feb. 2 interview.

“We’re now on track to start receiving grain into the facility … in 2019, to start to settle the bins and it looks like it will be an early 2020 commissioning.”

Located on the North Shore of the Burrard Inlet, G3’s export terminal is being billed as most efficient grain export facility on the West Coast, capable of handling eight million tonnes of grain annually.

It will be the first new export terminal built at the Port of Vancouver, Canada’s busiest, in the past 50 years.

Thirty-two of the facility’s 48 concrete grain silos have been poured and work is starting on the scale house attached to the silos.

“The site is really starting to take shape and you can really start to see the vision coming into a more tangible (form),” Malkoske said.

G3 officials told Reuters that as much as three million tonnes of annual export capacity at the terminal will be made available to other grain companies and exporters under commercial agreements.

Most of G3’s west coast capacity will be reserved for grain collected through G3’s inland terminals, including recently opened loop-track elevators at Pasqua, Sask., Colonsay, Sask., Bloom, Man., and Glenlea, Man.

Two additional high throughput elevators are under construction near Melville, Sask., and Saskatoon. The company has also identified five additional sites in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, although G3’s board has not formally announced plans to develop those sites.

The five potential sites are Vermilion, Alta., Morinville, Alta., Wetaskiwin, Alta., Carmangay, Alta., and Maidstone, Sask.

“Certainly, no final investment decisions from our board have been made (related to those sites),” Malkoske said.

“But I can confirm we have secured land in those areas and are progressing quite rapidly through the different regulatory processes, as well as engineering and design processes that we have to go through,” he continued.

“But I’ll stress again that no formal investment decisions have been made.”

G3 Global Holdings, the parent company of G3 Canada Ltd., announced in late 2016 that it would go ahead with plans to build a grain export terminal in North Vancouver.

Construction began in early March 2017 with a completion date initially scheduled for early- to mid-2020.

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

It is the parent company of G3 Canada, which controls assets that were formerly owned by the Canadian Wheat Board.

G3 Terminal Vancouver will feature a rail loop track capable of holding three, 134-car trains, a component that’s unique among existing grain export terminals in Canada.

The facility will include more than 180,000 tonnes of storage and will be able to handle cereal grains, oilseeds, pulses and special crops.

The design will allow prairie grain trains to travel to Vancouver, unload while in continuous motion and travel back to G3 Canada’s primary elevators without detaching from their locomotives.

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.

“This will reduce cycle times by up to 40 percent and increase the velocity and volume of grain that can move through the port,” G3 Canada’s chief executive officer Karl Gerrand told the Western Producer in 2017.

brian.cross@producer.com

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