Richardson books record port handle during expansion

Prairie grain firm Richardson International has wrapped up construction of a major new expansion at its Port Metro Vancouver export terminal and reported a record grain handle for the year while doing so.

The Winnipeg company on Tuesday reported its North Vancouver terminal shipped 5.2 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds in 2015, which it said is up from about three million tonnes in a typical year.

The company also reported shipping 551,000 tonnes of grain and receiving 5,400 rail cars at the terminal in April 2016 alone, topping its previous record of 489,000 tonnes and about 5,200 cars.

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The company started construction on its terminal expansion in September 2013, taking down steel bins and adding an 80,000-tonne concrete grain storage annex, boosting total capacity to 178,000 tonnes, allowing the facility to move over six million tonnes per year.

The project, budgeted for $120 million at the time, also included upgrades to the terminal’s rail yard and receiving system to tie into the annex and “handle and process railcars more efficiently.”

“For us to complete this project on time and on budget, not only continuing daily operations but exceeding expectations by setting new shipping and receiving records, is an outstanding accomplishment,” Darwin Sobkow, the company’s executive vice-president for agribusiness operations and processing, said in a release Wednesday.

“Not only was it challenging to construct the new annex on a narrow strip of land along the North Vancouver waterfront, Richardson’s terminal remained in full operation while construction took place,” the company said.

After holding consultations with port-area residents in 2012 and 2013, the company also pledged to invest up to $250,000 in landscaping and “natural screening” with trees around the new silos.

Richardson said in 2013 the Vancouver terminal had been operating at “maximum capacity” for years. Richardson had also expanded its Prairie grain handle around that time, with a deal to buy elevators from commodity firm Glencore during the latter company’s takeover of Viterra. — AGCanada.com Network

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