The southern Ontario community of Wallaceburg, across Lake St. Clair from Detroit, hopes landing fertilizer for Farmers of North America (FNA) will be another step toward regaining its official port status.
The Saskatoon-based group, which brokers deals for lower-cost imports of ag inputs on members’ behalf in the West, Ontario and Quebec, organized a shipment of 3,200 tonnes of 16-16-16 fertilizer from Russia to arrive directly waterside at Wallaceburg.
Working with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, the Wallaceburg Taskforce, Marine Link Shipping and FNA’s Moscow-based supplier Acron Fertilizer Co., FNA aims to have Wallaceburg’s “port” designation become official.
To do so, FNA said in a release Thursday, would take “direct involvement” from both the provincial and federal governments.
FNA’s Ontario territory manager Randy Furlan said the community’s own government has already worked out a sediment management plan that would allow it to provide the infrastructure to handle such imports. The municipality and local task force have also worked to maintain rail access to the community, FNA said.
“FNA sees this commitment to infrastructure, particularly the port and rail, as the final conditions required for FNA to commit greater resources of its own, building investment in the community,” Furlan said in FNA’s release Thursday.
FNA’s Ontario regional manager Nic Walby said in the same release that FNA views the infrastructure initiative at Wallaceburg, about 50 km south of Sarnia, as critical to farmers across Ontario and Canada.
“Restoring the port and rail system in Wallaceburg will even benefit farmers west of Ontario as imports from the East Coast will be moved to Wallaceburg at much lower costs,” he said.
That, ultimately, would mean “lower costs for farmers at the end of the delivery route in the West,” he said.
But this particular load of fertilizer, FNA said, is “immediately boosting the Ontario farm community as it brings competitive pricing to the market.”
FNA has previously brought fertilizer from Russia through the inland port at Churchill, Man., on Hudson Bay. The group also landed a boatload of urea fertilizer at Montreal when FNA expanded its operations into Quebec in May.