WINNIPEG, Manitoba, March 24 (Reuters) - CWB has started building its first grain elevator as the company formerly known as the Canadian Wheat Board attempts to re-position itself as an independent grain handler.
CWB said in a release on Monday that it will build a grain elevator at Bloom, Manitoba, that will be ready to receive grain for the 2015 harvest. The high-throughput elevator, near Portage la Prairie, will have 33,900 tonnes of crop storage.
Government-controlled CWB has downsized sharply since the Canadian government removed its marketing monopoly on most Western Canadian wheat and barley in August 2012. Since then, the Winnipeg-based company has bought and sold farmers' wheat, durum, barley, canola and peas, relying mainly on grain facilities owned by rivals such Richardson International Ltd and Cargill Ltd.
The Canadian government is guaranteeing CWB's borrowings until it is sold or develops a plan to be self-sustaining by 2016.
CWB started to assemble its own network of handling facilities in November, when it acquired Mission Terminal Inc from Upper Lakes Group. Mission Terminal includes a terminal at Thunder Bay, Ontario, a grain facility at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, and and a stevedoring service.
In January, CWB also bought a 10 percent stake in Prairie West Terminal, a farmer-owned network of grain elevators in Saskatchewan.
Part of CWB's plan to become self-sustaining involves farmer ownership. Farmers can receive an equity interest in CWB based on their grain deliveries to it.
Construction has already started on the Bloom elevator, which will be serviced by the Canadian National Railway Co mainline with track for 130 rail cars. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Peter Galloway)