Richardson boosts West Coast port grain storage

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Grain handler Richardson International has applied for permits to boost its Port Metro Vancouver terminal’s grain storage space by about two-thirds.

The Winnipeg company, currently Canada’s second-biggest grain handler, said Monday it plans to build an 80,000-tonne-capacity concrete grain storage annex at its Vancouver port site.

After it takes down its current steel storage bins at the site, Richardson said this $120-million expansion project would net about 70,000 tonnes of new storage, bringing the terminal’s total storage capacity to 178,000 tonnes.

“Increasing storage capacity at our Vancouver terminal is critical to our business,” Darwin Sobkow, Richardson’s vice-president for agribusiness operations, said in a release.

Richardson’s Vancouver terminal is now running at maximum capacity, the company said, handling about three million tonnes of grains and oilseeds per year.

The company’s grain handle is also expected to rise in coming months through its planned acquisition of 19 Prairie elevators now owned by Viterra, Canada’s No. 1 handler.

Pending approval from federal antitrust watchdogs, that sale — part of a $900-million deal with Viterra’s proposed new owner, Glencore International — would put Richardson near the No. 1 spot among Canadian handlers.

Given “growing global demand,” Richardson said, it expects to be able to handle over five million tonnes per year with this additional storage capacity in hand.

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