Friday, October 10, 2014

Canpotex Expanding Portland Terminal Ops

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Portland, already the largest gateway on the US West Coast for bulk mineral exports, is expected to become even more diversified thanks to a new expansion of the Canpotex Ltd. potash export facility at the port’s marine Terminal 5 in the Rivergate Industrial District.

The Port of Portland Commission on Oct. 8 approved plans for Canpotex, through its Portland Bulk Terminals subsidiary, to invest up to $140 million in new equipment and infrastructure to improve the efficiency of its shiploading operations and the management of Canpotex’s specialty white potash products.

“Canpotex has been a great tenant for nearly two decades, and we are excited that this world-class shipper’s roots in Portland are growing even deeper with this expansion,” Port of Portland Executive Director Bill Wyatt said.

A new shiploader, improved control system technology and an upgraded conveyance system is expected to enable shorter turnaround times for Canpotex trains and ships, while a new storage building is expected to allow the potash exporter to better manage its specialty grade products at the terminal.

“This investment ... improves the speed and quality of our operations at the terminal,” Steve Dechka, Canpotex’s president and chief executive officer, said. “But it’s not just our company that benefits; we are doing our part to try to build efficiency into the transportation system in the Pacific Northwest corridor.”

Canpotex is a joint venture among three Province of Saskatchewan, Canada potash producers: Agrium, Mosaic and PotashCorp. In addition to Portland Bulk Terminals, Canpotex has operations at Neptune Terminal in Vancouver, British Columbia.

More than two million metric tons of Saskatchewan potash, which is a mineral nutrient used in fertilizer applications, is exported through Portland annually to international markets including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Canpotex says that as a result of a long-term lease extension, it expects to incrementally increase its tonnage in the coming years.