The 'ultimate NAFTA shipment'

by Teresa Acklin
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Canadian white wheat moves through U.S. port to Mexico.

   About 18,000 tonnes of white wheat from Canada recently were shipped to the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S., for export to a bread flour mill in northern Mexico, according to officials with the Port of Corpus Christi Authority.

   “It's the ultimate North American Free Trade Agreement shipment,” said John P. LaRue, the port authority's executive director.

   The Canadian wheat arrived aboard a Liberian flag vessel and was unloaded to trucks at the Port's Bulk Dock 1 facility, which can unload ships directly to railcars or trucks at up to 600 tonnes per hour.

   The wheat was transported by truck to the Corpus Christi Public Elevator for storage and then loaded onto railcars for export to Mexico. Most Canadian wheat shipments to Mexico are by ship to Gulf coast ports in Mexico.

   Jerry Cotter, director of operations at the Port of Corpus Christi, said, “A key factor in choosing the Port of Corpus Christi was our expeditious rail service to Mexico.”

   With 26 miles of rail lines, the Port of Corpus Christi receives service from three rail carriers: the Southern Pacific, the Texas Mexican Railway and the Union Pacific.

   Port officials said they had been working on this wheat shipment for several months and saw it as an opportunity to bring added revenue to the Port's elevator facility. They said they expected more shipments of Canadian white wheat through the Corpus Christi Elevator, which is equipped with seven loading spouts that provide a total output of 2,500 tonnes per hour.