Cargill to expand Manitoba grain elevator amid crop backlog

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:39am EDT

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 10 (Reuters) - Cargill Ltd , Canada's third-largest grain handler, will increase storage and rail-car capacity at Morris, Manitoba, the latest in a series of expansions by Canadian grain companies.

The move, announced on Wednesday, comes as the country's grain handlers and railways have struggled to move a record-large harvest to port, causing a massive backlog.

Cargill said it would add 20,000 tonnes of grain storage space for a total of 30,000 tonnes and equip the site to allow 100 rail cars to load grain, nearly double the current number.

The expansion is expected to start within the next month and be complete in time for the 2015 harvest. Cargill did not disclose the cost.

In the last year, Cargill has also announced expansions for its grain-handling sites at Viking, Alberta, and Rosetown, Saskatchewan.

Cargill's rivals are also boosting capacity.

Viterra, owned by Glencore Xstrata PLC, said last week it would build a new grain elevator at Kindersley, Saskatchewan, while CWB plans to build the first of a network of elevators near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

Richardson International Ltd last year said it would spend C$40 million ($37 million) to expand its western Canadian grain-handling and crop input centers, and received approval from Port Metro Vancouver to expand its grain terminal there.

($1=$1.09 Canadian) (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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