In need of ready access to West Coast tidewater, Prairie pulse crop processor AGT Food and Ingredients is set to work with the B.C. forestry sector to get it.
Regina-based, publicly-traded AGT announced Monday it has reached a long-term terminal services agreement with Fibreco Export Inc., a wood fibre and canola meal exporter majority-owned by forest products firm Tolko Industries.
The 20-year agreement calls for Fibreco to add a new agriproducts export terminal at its own bulk handling and loading facility on the north shore of Burrard Inlet at Port Metro Vancouver.
The deal also calls for Fibreco to provide “terminal services and additional services” to AGT, for the “guaranteed throughput of agricultural commodities.”
Financial terms of the terminal services agreement deal won’t be released, an AGT representative said Monday via email.
Fibreco, on its project website, has described its terminal enhancement project as providing a “$20 million direct injection” into the Vancouver economy, along with “anticipated annual indirect contributions” of $60 million.
Port access is “an essential infrastructure piece” for AGT, “particularly on the West Coast of Canada where access to port facilities is in limited supply to reach key markets in Asia,” AGT CEO Murad Al-Katib said in a release Monday.
AGT’s deal with Fibreco, he said, “complements our shortline rail system and works in concert with our recent investment in CanEst in Montreal.”
AGT in July locked in a deal for a minority stake and 16-year terminal agreement with CanEst Transit, giving it access to that company’s bulk export terminal at the Port of Montreal.
Since 2015, AGT has had a direct stake in railway operation through its investment in West Central Road and Rail, and in logistics through its purchase of Mobil Capital Holdings, which includes subsidiaries such as Mobil Grain, Big Sky Rail, Mobilex Terminal and Mobil Transloading.
The new agriproducts facility Fibreco has committed to build at Vancouver is expected to include about 43,000 tonnes of dry bulk storage capacity, a rail spot for full unit trains, and a new shiploader and expanded berth capable of loading Panamax vessels, AGT said Monday.
Fibreco is no stranger to bulk export, having moved wood chips and wood pellets from its Vancouver terminal to pulp and paper manufacturers worldwide on behalf of its stakeholders in the B.C. forestry sector since 1979. The company more recently also began shipping canola meal pellets.
Its terminal upgrades, it said, are meant to allow “product diversification” at the site, including handling food ingredients for the international ag trade.
AGT’s spokesperson said Monday the planned terminal will handle pulses, oilseeds and grains railed in on standard grain hopper cars, rather than in bulk bags moved via rail containers.
Fibreco already has a permit in hand from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority for the project and is still waiting on development permit approval from the District of North Vancouver, AGT said.
The Fibreco port terminal agreement “allows us to target increased volumes to our key markets for pulses as well as diversified products such as durum wheat and other agri-commodities,” AGT executive chairman Huseyin Arslanis said in the same release.
“The fact that Fibreco owns the land at the port was attractive to us and the major shareholder of Fibreco is a Tolko affiliate, which is a strong partner for us for the long-term.”
On its project website, Fibreco said it expects the expanded terminal to offer “relief to Canadian agricultural producers and railroads with an additional outlet to export agricultural and food ingredient products to emerging Asia-Pacific markets.” –– AGCanada.com Network