Decision delayed on fate of Innisfail grain terminal

A proposed GrainsConnect Canada terminal near Innisfail is on the back burner.

A proposed GrainsConnect Canada terminal near Innisfail is on the back burner.

In February, the company announced plans for a $30-million handling facility just north of Innisfail at Niobe, where the company already has grain elevators through its ownership of Canada Malting. The 35,000-tonne capacity terminal would offload a 135-car train in 10 hours.

Construction was to have started in April.

GrainsConnect president Warren Stow said a decision on whether the Innisfail project goes ahead is likely a year away because the company is focusing on getting two new terminals in Saskatchewan up and running.

“It’s not a lock that we’re going there (Innisfail). But it’s still high on our radar,” said Stow. “There are no real changes other than that Saskatchewan first and then we’ll make decisions on Alberta in a year’s time.”

Innisfail was only one piece of a $120-million high-throughput grain elevator network that GrainsConnect is building in Western Canada. After Saskatchewan, the company is planning to expand with two new terminals in Alberta.

Stow said the scheduling is due to a number of factors.

“I’m not going to get into them publicly. But at the time we make a decision it will be based on economics and what’s right for the business.”

GrainsConnect is a joint venture between Australia’s GrainCorp Limited and the U.S. arm of Japan-based Zen-Noh Grain Corporation.

GrainsConnect will focus on wheat, barley, canola and peas for destinations in China, Japan and Southeast Asia via the West Coast.

The first Saskatchewan terminal is expected to be ready by the end of next year and the second will open in mid-2018. It takes about 18 months to build the terminals.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg-based Paterson Grain is just awaiting the green light from the province before it starts construction on a $25-million export terminal near Bowden.

“We are ready and intend on moving earth just as soon as all of the final approvals are received,” says Shane Paterson, Paterson GlobalFoods Inc. corporate development officer in an email response.

“We remain bullish about the project and continue to progress it as quickly as we can.”

Paterson’s terminal will have 55,000 tonnes of capacity and a high-speed unloading system that can fill 150 rail cars in seven hours.

Grain from the Bowden facility will be transported to Paterson’s Alliance Grain Terminal in the Port of Vancouver to customers worldwide.

The company also has Alberta facilities in Gleichen, Dunmore and a third facility will open this year in Daysland.

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