Cargill has committed $20 million towards expansion of its rail loading facilities at its Lethbridge, AB, location. The company says the expansion will more than double loading capacity at the facility for grain moving towards the West Coast. Construction is set to be complete by mid-way through this year’s harvest, the company says.
“The industry standard for rail capacity is increasing, and this project will ensure that Cargill Lethbridge, is more than meeting the standard,” says Allan Facchinutti, Alberta regional commercial leader for Cargill’s agriculture business, in a press release.
Cargill’s elevator is located within the city of Lethbridge, and this expansion required close collaboration between Cargill, the City of Lethbridge, and CP Rail.
The company says this investment is part of Cargill’s growth strategy for its agricultural business, which consists of 40 facilities across Western Canada. Cargill’s Lethbridge facility handles canola, durum, and wheat and once the project is complete will employ 20 people.
Western Canadian farmers are facing significant cash flow constraints following a backlog of rail shipments this winter. Similar to the 2013-14 rail transport flop, this winter’s grain rail movement has fell well below average years, largely blamed by railways on cold weather, causing huge grain backlogs across Western Canada. Bill C-49 — the Transportation Modernization Act — is currently moving through Canada’s parliamentary system, and is headed back to the House of Commons with amendments from the Senate. Industry groups hope the act will improve grain movement by rail now and for the long term.