From FCC Express
By Mark Cardwell
A new grain terminal being built in Quebec City by La Coop fédérée will begin shipping Canadian wheat, corn and soybeans and other cereals to new overseas markets this fall, company officials say.
“This is great news for Canadian grain growers,” says Sébastien Léveillé, executive vice-president of Agri-business, one of three divisions of La Coop fédérée. “This new terminal will increase storage capacity and help open and supply new markets.”
The new $90-million facility will be built in four phases at the western end of the port of Quebec City.
Under the first phase, La Coop fédérée and joint venture partner Fonds de solidarité FTQ will convert two existing silos currently being used to store wood pellets into grain storage facilities. Various equipment needed to sort and load grain onto ships will also be installed this summer.
Léveillé says the facility should be ready to begin shipping grain come harvest time.
He says new storage and berthing facilities will be added in the coming years to bring the site’s maximum shipping capacity of mostly grain and some fertilizers to 1.3 million tonnes a year.
Though smaller than the facilities run by the world’s top grain terminal operators, Léveillé says the Quebec City site will be more flexible and responsive to the needs of Canadian growers.
He adds that most grain to flow through the terminal will come from producers in Quebec and Ontario.
“Our strategic advantage is the privileged relationship we have with them,” Léveillé says.
The co-operative is the largest agri-food co-operative in Canada with more than 120,000 members grouped into some 70 co-ops across the country. The co-op grew earlier this year when it acquired all of Cargill’s Ontario grain assets and purchased Standard Nutrition Canada, making it a major player overnight in the feed business in Western Canada.
“We’re clearly in a growth period,” Léveillé says. “This new grain terminal is part of it.”
Philippe Beaulieu, a Quebec grain producer and Coop fédérée-affiliated member, says the new terminal is a 20-minute drive from his family’s 1,100-acre farm where they grow oats, barley and wheat. He says the terminal will benefit both co-op members and individual producers.
“There could be bigger dividends if it leads to increased sales,” Beaulieu says. “And it creates another outlet for our grain, which could lead to higher prices.”
Crosby Devitt, vice-president of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, says it’s great to see any new grain-shipping infrastructure built on the St. Lawrence River, which is the main conduit for the more than one million tons of feed corn, wheat and food- and bulk-grade soybean that Ontario’s 28,000 grain producers export overseas every year, mostly to Europe.
“That volume is becoming significant and will continue to grow because our yields will keep going up,” Devitt says. So it’s always good to have more options.”