P+H backs away from deal for Owen Sound port

Talks for grain company Parrish and Heimbecker to take over the federally-operated Lake Huron port of Owen Sound, Ont., where it already runs a grain terminal, have sunk with no deal.

The port, on Georgian Bay, is one of 34 “regional/local” ports in Canada now managed by Transport Canada’s port programs directorate, which is tasked with divesting such ports to other public- or private-sector owner/operators.

John Higham, regional director of programs for Transport Canada’s Ontario region, wrote in a Jan. 23 letter to Owen Sound city manager Ruth Coursey that “negotiations have ended without a divestiture being concluded.”

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Transport Canada, he wrote, will continue to operate the Owen Sound port, which “remains available for divestiture.”

A representative for Winnipeg-based P+H wasn’t immediately available for comment Friday on any specific reasons why talks ended without a deal.

P+H’s Great Lakes Elevator Co. grain terminal at Owen Sound has 93,000 tonnes of grain capacity and 11 truck loading bins; it can handle ships up to 750 feet long, including self-unloading ships and bulkers. The facility can also load out to laker vessels and smaller ocean-going “salties.”

As local media have previously reported, the harbour bottom is filling with silt and needs dredging soon for Owen Sound to remain a viable commercial port.

Transport Canada, however, has previously said it plans to deal with the dredging issue only once a deal is sealed for divestiture of the harbour. — AGCanada.com Network

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