Increase in Canola Exports Drives Port Metro Expansion at Vancouver
West Coast Reduction Ltd., which handles approximately 65% of Canada’s canola exports for companies, including Cargill and Richardson International Ltd, has completed a $9.5 million expansion of its rail unloading and handling facilities at its terminal and export site at Port Metro in Vancouver in order to be able to handle a surge in canola oil exports. The operation is targeting a conservative estimated increase in exports of 25%, bringing the company from handling a current 700,000 tons per year to approximately 1.1 million tons.
Driving the expansion is an expectation expressed by the Canola Council of Canada that the country’s canola processing capacity will double by 2025. Canada produces approximately 3 million tons of canola per year and exports around 2.5 million tons. An increasing share of canola oil exports are forecast to be shipped to Asian markets. Over the past five years, China’s imports have grown from 440,000 tons in 2009 to 1 million tons in 2012.
Port Metro Vancouver has seen two record years of activity, handling a record 19.6 million tons of grain, seeds, and crops in 2014 – a 22% jump year on year. The industry is seeing this as the new normal as global demographics swiftly change. China’s middle class is expanding by the size of Canada’s entire population every year, India’s is expanding by between 10 and 20 million every year, Indonesia’s is expanding by 7 million per year, and Brazil’s by 5 million per year. Given these trends, West Coast Reduction states that the company is taking into consideration an additional $100 million worth of further capital improvements over the next decade in order to keep pace with the country’s canola output.