canest : containerization of grain provides value-added service

A new facility in the Port of Montreal that will specialize in the cleaning and containerization of agricultural products for local and international markets is a perfect fit with the port’s strategy to provide value-added services to clients.

The annex of the Port of Montreal's former Grain Elevator No.3 is located on
Notre-Dame St., just west of Pie-IX Blvd.

CanEst Transit will receive by rail and truck, store, clean and containerize bulk agricultural products from Quebec, Ontario, Western Canada and the U.S. Midwest. It will be able to load eight containers per hour as well as two different products simultaneously.

Containers will be transported by truck to local markets or directly to the Port of Montreal’s container terminals for onward transit by vessel to the international markets that the port’s container lines serve, including Western and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and Asia.

The facility is scheduled to open July 15.

“Montreal has always been a major shipping and receiving centre for agricultural products from Quebec, Ontario, Western Canada and the U.S. Midwest,” said Réal Bélanger, general manager of CanEst Transit. “With this facility, we will be able to offer a new service right on the port for the cleaning and containerization of agricultural products.”

Réal Bélanger, general director of CanEst Transit

“The CanEst Transit project fits in perfectly within our ‘Port+’ strategy to provide value-added services to port users and to attract new clients,” said Sylvie Vachon, president and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority. “This project will increase our capacity for handling bulk products. Users will benefit from the port’s strategic location on the St. Lawrence River to serve international markets.”

CanEst Transit was founded by agri-food group La Coop fédérée, holding company Transit BD Inc., and MGT Holdings S.A.R.L., that operates two container terminals in the port. CanEst Transit has signed a lease with the Montreal Port Authority to operate out of the port’s former Grain Elevator No. 3 annex.

A $22-million modernization of the facility, including the installation of new conveyors, scales and other equipment, is well underway.

The new facility will have an initial storage capacity of 68,000 tonnes, divided among 56 silos of 900 tonnes each and 35 silos of 300 to 500 tonnes each. This will be ideal for identity preservation of all products handled at the complex. The complex will be able to receive up to 50 railcars.

Clients will include leading agri-business companies. “With the assortment of shipping lines and two railway companies serving the Port of Montreal, our new service will be able to offer competitive costs,” Mr. Bélanger said. “The fact that we can receive railcars and store product immediately will eliminate any demurrage charges.”

“La Coop fédérée, Transit BD Inc. and MGT Holdings are contributing their expertise, industry knowledge and the financing necessary for this new venture’s success,” said CanEst Transit president Pierre Dagenais, who, with more than 40 years of experience, is well known in the grain industry in Quebec and Canada. “We are proud that the Montreal Port Authority has pledged its infrastructure’s expertise and financial support for CanEst Transit’s future developments.”

“The proximity of port facilities is a major advantage in the agri-food industry,” said Simon Baillargeon, general manager, grain sector, for La Coop fédérée, in reference to the Port of Montreal’s strategic geographic location.

“CanEst Transit intends to become the unchallenged leader in bulk warehousing and containerization services in Eastern Canada,” said Michael Fratianni, chief financial officer of MGT Holdings.

Read the press communique released by Coop fédérée