Providence sells majority stake in Columbia

Alberta-based Providence Grain Group (PGG) has sold a majority interest in Columbia Containers Ltd., a Vancouver-based container transloading company that handles pulse crops, barley and other agricultural crops.

In a Feb. 11 news release, Providence said it has sold a 51 percent share in Columbia to Timber Investments Ltd., a privately owned investment company located in Vernon, B.C.

Providence will retain a 49 percent stake in Columbia Containers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Columbia operates an agri-products container transloading facility on the south shore of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver.

It recently completed a major capital upgrade that will increase handling capacity to 1.5 million tonnes annually.

The upgrade will also allow Columbia to handle unit trains more efficiently.

Columbia also provides freight forwarding services to Providence Grain Group and other western Canadian grain shippers through its wholly owned subsidiary, CWest Solutions Inc.

The Columbia deal will allow Providence to recapitalize its balance sheet, reduce its cost structure and position PGG to pursue growth in its core grain merchandising business.

In the Feb.11 news release, PGG said Timber has interests in two other West Coast logistics operations. That experience will allow Columbia to benefit from new synergies in storage, transloading and shipping operations.

In addition to its investments in other logistics businesses, Timber also has a number of other investments in the real estate and forest products industries.

Timber’s wholly owned forestry company, Tolko Industries Ltd., is a leading manufacturer of forest products including dimensional lumber, plywood, veneer, oriented strand board, co-products, biomass power and a growing number of specialty wood products.

Providence Grain Group is one of a handful of producer-owned grain handling companies in Western Canada.

The company is headquartered in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., but has grain elevators in Gaudin, Alta., Marengo, Sask., Crossfield, Alta., Viking, Alta., Stoughton, Sask., and Winnipeg, Man.

Each PGG location is a full-service primary elevator, licensed and bonded by the Canadian Grain Commission.

Columbia Containers is situated on 14 acres of land on Vancouver’s south shore and is Canada’s largest grain container transloading facility.

With the completion of its recent expansion, Columbia has two separate loading systems and over 10,000 tonnes of grain storage capacity.

The site also has a container depot used for container storage, preparation and repairs.

One of Columbia’s core markets is the Japanese malt market.

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