Four Viterra elevators to get rail, storage upgrades

Glencore Xstrata’s pledge to boost capital spending in its Viterra grain handling network will start with over $20 million on four of its Saskatchewan elevators.

Regina-based Viterra said last week it will expand the rail car capacity at four elevators — its Humboldt, Ituna and Waldron facilities plus its White Star elevator near Prince Albert.

The company said it will also triple storage capacity at the White Star elevator and double the storage at Humboldt.

Canadian National Railway, which serves three of the four sites, rates the Humboldt and White Star sites with spots for 50-plus rail cars, while the Waldron and Ituna facilities can each handle over 25.

Viterra didn’t say by how much the rail car spots will increase, only that the expansions will “ensure a more efficient service provider for the farming communities in those areas.”

Storage capacity at Humboldt, according to the Canadian Grain Commission, now sits at about 16,500 tonnes, while the White Star elevator — served by the Carlton Trail Railway shortline, running from P.A. to Saskatoon — can hold up to 9,500 tonnes of grain.

The Waldron and Ituna facilities, about 30 km southeast and 55 km northwest of Melville respectively, are also relatively small for Viterra, with CGC-rated capacity of 9,500 tonnes each.

“By improving our rail and storage capacities in targeted areas, we are creating further value for our farm customers at the local level, as well as our suppliers and end use customers across North America and beyond,” Kyle Jeworski, Viterra’s CEO for North America, said in a release May 15.

Jeworski, who Glencore named in January as its chief for Viterra’s North American business, didn’t give a timeline in the release for the expansions to be completed.

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