Critics who thought private grain companies wouldn’t willingly move CWB grain have been proved wrong this year.
Cargill and the CWB are delighted about their relationship.
“We’re quite happy with the way that grain has moved through our system,” Cargill Canada president Len Penner told reporters after a speech at the Manitoba Swine Seminar.
“We are pleased with the working relationship that we have with the Canadian Wheat Board and that grain that they have positioned that farmers have committed to them and the grain they have committed to exporting.”
The CWB is also happy to see the CWB-Cargill relationship operate as well as it had hoped.
“We are pleased with dealing with Cargill,” said Mark Dyck, the board’s director of logistics.
“We’ve exported well through their facilities and we’ve done what we have said we’re going to do with them and they’ve done what they’ve said they would do with us.”
Cargill was the first grain company to sign a handling agreement with the CWB to move its grain in the post-monopoly era. The CWB now has agreements with all of Canada’s significant grain handlers.
However, many worried last winter that the grain companies might not happily move CWB grain because it could conflict with their own internal sales and movement programs.
Some felt grain companies were cynically signing agreements with the CWB as a way to create the appearance that it could survive in the post-monopoly era but had few intentions of truly co-operating.
Many monopoly defenders be-lieved the CWB would be unable to attract grain from farmers or make sales in the post-monopoly environment because it didn’t own its own facilities and couldn’t guarantee service to port.
However, few reports of significant problems with CWB shipments have appeared. Not only is CWB able to call and haul its grain to port through the grain companies, but it is also able to use its sales force to buy crops from Canadian grain companies and sell to foreign buyers at higher prices.
Dyck said the relationship with Cargill, Canada’s third largest grain company, is excellent. It is also good with the other grain companies, he added.
“Overall we’re pleased with our execution,” Dyck said in an interview.
“There have been some bumps we’re trying to address with certain people, but obviously with Cargill things have gone very well.”
Penner said he has been pleased to see the wrinkle-free transition to an open market, which includes an active CWB and companies doing their own sales.