business

Saudi-Bunge Venture to Build Grain Terminal in Southern Ontario

  • G3 Canada, formerly CWB, to construct 50,000 metric ton depot
  • Targeting year-round grain shipments from Port of Hamilton

G3 Canada, the venture between Saudi Arabia and Bunge Ltd., plans to spend at least C$50 million ($38 million) to build a grain terminal in southern Ontario to boost exports from the East Coast.

G3, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based grain handler majority owned by Bunge and state-owned Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Company, plans to build a 50,000-metric ton lake terminal at the Port of Hamilton, the company said Tuesday in a statement. Production of wheat, corn and soybeans in Ontario has grown significantly and the new facility will help bolster the company’s presence in eastern Canada, said Karl Gerrand, G3’s chief executive officer.

“We see it as a really important market,” Gerrand said in a telephone interview. “This is all new volume we’ll be able to generate from that area.”

G3 was formed earlier this year when Bunge and Saudi’s SALIC acquired a 50.1 percent stake in the former Canadian Wheat Board for C$250 million. Since then, the company has been focused on boosting its presence across the country and is looking at the feasibility of building a grain terminal in Vancouver with 180,000 tons of storage and as many as 10 inland terminals across the prairies by 2019, Gerrand said.

Acquisitions Preferred

G3 is targeting annual grain shipments of 800,000 metric tons from the Ontario terminal, Gerrand said. The company plans to ship grain from the Port of Hamilton year-round with either its lake vessels or by rail to its terminals in Quebec for export, he said.

While G3 is focused on its build-out strategy it “would be happy to buy versus build,” if opportunities came to market, he said. The company wants to have efficient grain facilities “in the right spots” to reduce bottlenecks and move grain from farmer’s fields to export faster, Gerrand said.

Gerrand declined to comment on whether Swiss-based commodity trader Glencore Plc may look to sell any of its assets on the Canadian prairies. Glencore, the company seeking to cut its $30 billion debt by a third amid a rout in prices, is in talks to sell two copper mines in Australia and Chile after approaches from buyers.

“It’s our belief there’s probably not much there to offer G3, but again it depends what really ends up coming to market,” Gerrand said. “We’re always interested whether it’s Glencore or anyone else.”

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