Saskatchewan Wheat Pool joint venture opens grain import terminal in Mexico

by Teresa Acklin
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   MANZANILLO, MEXICO — An import grain terminal operated by Comercializadora La Junta, a joint venture of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Canada's largest grain handler and agricultural cooperative, and the Gomez family of Mexico, began operations in June in the Pacific coast port of Manzanillo.

   The terminal will initially import 2 million tonnes of grain a year, primarily canola, wheat, maize and soybeans, for use in Mexican processing operations, the company said.

   The facility includes two 25,000-tonne storage domes and a ship unloader capable of unloading Panamax-sized vessels of up to 50,000 tonnes at a rate of 1,000 tonnes per hour. The grain terminal also can load 50 rail cars per shift.

   Additional storage capacity and a second ship unloader will be erected as demand dictates, the company said.

   Saskatchewan Wheat Pool's partner in the venture owns Aceitera La Junta, an oil crushing and feed business in Guadalajara, Mexico. “We are excited to be partnering with the Gomez family on this project,” said Leroy Larsen, president of the S.W.P. and co-chairman of the C.L.J. board.

   “As trade barriers come down, international markets will be key to the Pool's overall success. This terminal is a natural fit in the Pool's aggressive growth plan that will ensure our members, customers and shareholders benefit fully from global markets.”

   Julio Gomez Fernandez, owner of Aceitera La Junta, said the joint venture would provide “a springboard to other Canadian businesses for additional investment opportunities in Mexico and Latin America.”