Prairie grain handler G3’s new West Coast port terminal has passed its commissioning run and is now in “commercial operation,” but don’t wait for a ceremonial grand opening.
Winnipeg-based G3 announced Wednesday its new 180,000-tonne capacity terminal at the Port of Vancouver is officially open, but the company has “set aside” plans for a ceremony to that effect, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the commissioning process, the new facility has for “several months” been “safely and efficiently” taking in Prairie grain by rail and loading it onto ships, G3 said.
The terminal, served by Canadian National Railway (CN), can receive up to three 150-car trains on its loop track, a feature it described as “unique among grain exporting terminals in Canada.”
The system allows trains to unload while still in motion and return to G3 elevators without detaching from their locomotives, “which is critical to increasing supply chain efficiency.” It’s also expected to help address concerns that were aired about port congestion when the new terminal was first proposed.
The terminal’s dock can accept vessels up to capesize, and includes three ship loaders with a “new industry standard” vessel load rate of up to 6,500 tonnes per hour.
Work started on the facility at Burrard Inlet’s North Shore in March 2017, with a budgeted cost of over $500 million. When G3 announced its plans in late 2016, the terminal was billed as the first new grain facility to be built at the port in almost 50 years.
To feed the terminal, G3 has 13 primary elevators running on the Prairies, with four others under construction. By the end of 2021, the company expects to have nine elevators operating in Saskatchewan, six in Alberta and two in Manitoba.
The company, a joint venture between U.S. grain firm Bunge and Saudi-owned SALIC, also has port facilities at Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres. — Glacier FarmMedia Network