The sod has officially been turned for the new Maymont grain terminal project.
This new inland terminal is the first of four being built for GrainsConnect Canada, a joint venture between Australia-based GrainCorp and the Japan-based grain co-operative Zen-Noh.
The state-of-the art-terminal is to be located just east of Maymont on the CN line.
Tuesday morning, dignitaries were on hand at the construction site to officially turn the sod for the project.
Attending were officials from GrainsConnect, GrainCorp and Zen-Noh as well as MPs Kelly Block (Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek) and Gerry Ritz (Battlefords-Lloydminster), as well as MLA Randy Weekes (Biggar-Saskatchewan Valley).
It was a soggy day at the site with copious mud due to recent heavy rains in the area. But the rain held off on this morning, allowing the dignitaries to stand for the sod-turning beside the sign that has been erected.
The facility is designed by Todd and Sargent Inc., and will hold 3,500 metric tons of grain. According to GrainsConnect president Warren Stow, it will have the ability to load 130 rail cars in less than 10 hours.
“We will have the most efficient supply chain to the West Coast, ultimately bringing more competition to the region’s grower base,” said Stow to those in attendance for the sod turning.
The finished terminal will be a high efficiency terminal when completed. The construction takes place over 18 months and will create 40-50 construction jobs at any given time, which will increase to 200 at the peak when the concrete core is put in.
Once completed and operational, there will be 10-12 full-time employees on site. As well, it is being touted as potentially sustaining several other full-time jobs in the area.
In speaking to the Regional Optimist, Stow said GrainCorp has been trading in western Canada for the last four years and they also have a presence with Canada Malting in western Canada as well.
“We wanted to create an opportunity to trade more grain out of Canada and supply our customer base in Asia with western Canadian grain,” said Stow.
As well, Zen-noh was brought along as they were interested in entering the Canadian market to meet their demand.
“Between the two partners, it seemed like a good opportunity to do something in a more significant way in western Canada.”
The Maymont area was chosen, said Stow, because it’s a “great grain producing area in western Canada, and we’ve got great mainline rail support with the CN prairie north line here and limited competition in the immediate area.”
A second terminal is to be announced for Saskatchewan within the next 60-90 days, Stow indicated, and two others are slated for Alberta. As indicated last December in a news release, the cost of all four projects is estimated at $120 million.
Stow says he believes the construction will be good news for local growers in the area.
“We want to be another option for growers in the region. We want to be competitive with the current grain companies that are already here, and we feel with a more efficient model, we can compete as well or better than current elevators.”
Political officials on hand for the announcement welcomed the creation of new jobs and the new investment in the region’s economy.
“This region of Saskatchewan consistently produces a variety of high-quality grains, oil seeds and pulse seeds,” said Block.
“It’s exciting to see GrainsConnect recognize this fact, by building a new grain handling facility right here.”
The new inland terminal, she said, will be a new opportunity for farmers in the region.
“The free market, and competition are foundational to Canada’s grain and pulse industries, and this facility will provide farmers another option as they market their products,” said Block.
In his remarks Gerry Ritz congratulated GrainsConnect for the project. He said the joint venture “addresses the vitality that we have here in Western Canada, the growth of the grain commodities that we’re going to see here and, of course, international markets."