Port of Johnstown celebrates start to season at first annual Port Day
Port of Johnstown officials reported a roaring start to the season as it opened its doors June 4 to more than 1,000 members of the public as well as politicians and business leaders for its first annual Port Day.
“The port is charging ahead with further infrastructure improvements that will help attract new cargoes and allow our existing customers to expand their use of the port. We have completed a new bypass access road to allow for the shipment of height-restricted oversized cargo and we have agreed to expand grain storage by a further 10,000 metric tons,” said Robert Dalley, General Manager of the Port. “Our shipping season also got off to an early and busy start with vessels delivering road salt and calcium chloride and loading up with corn for export.”
Year-to-date (April 10 to May 31), cargo tonnage totaled 200,000 metric tons, a 100 percent increase over the same period last year. However, officials cautioned that the scale of that rise is due to the early timing of salt shipments. After completing a C$35 million infrastructure upgrade last year, the multi-modal port continues to pursue new business such as oversized project cargo.
“As it marks its 85th anniversary this year, the Port of Johnstown is well-positioned to keep on growing, creating more jobs, investment and tax dollars for our community,” said Edwardsburgh Cardinal Mayor Pat Sayeau. “Cargo being moved through the port by truck, rail and ship now totals more than 1.2 million [metric] tons a year. That’s a huge success story for not only our township, but all of the communities being served throughout Ontario and Quebec.”
Mayor Sayeau was joined by a roster of speakers including MPP Steve Clark (Leeds and Grenville); Chamber of Marine Commerce President Stephen Brooks; Ken Robertshaw, Vice President of Grain Origination for GreenField Specialty Alcohols; Tom Lynch, Field Agent for Ingredion Canada Corporation; Gino Becerra, Director, Merchandising Grain Division for La Coop Fédérée; and Scott Krakar, Wheat merchandiser for London Agricultural Commodities.
Chamber of Marine Commerce President Stephen Brooks said the port exemplified how marine shipping can be a powerful economic force when backed by the local community.
“The Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal and local politicians have championed upgrading and expanding the port and have attracted millions of dollars in investment,” he said. “Eastern Ontario farmers and manufacturers now have access to world-class facilities to import and export goods throughout the Great Lakes and to more than 60 countries via the St. Lawrence Seaway.”
The event particularly highlighted the value of the port to the agricultural sector.
GreenField Specialty Alcohols, the largest ethanol fuel producer in Canada and a supplier of corn-based alcohols and animal feed supplements, has been a port user since opening its plant across the road in Johnstown in 2008. The company receives thousands of tons of corn by truck, rail and ship at the port and stores it there to prevent supply shortages.
Ken Robertshaw, Vice President of Grain Origination for GreenField Specialty Alcohols, explained: “The port acts as our security blanket. We receive 65-70 trucks a day of local corn for continuous grinding at the plant, but the port is our backup anytime that supply breaks down due to holidays, weather delays or poor harvests. The port has been an important partner for us and we consider our collaboration with them a crucial link in our supply chain.”
Ingredion Canada Corporation recently started using the Port of Johnstown to store non-GMO corn, which is used at its Cardinal plant location.
Tom Lynch, Field Agent for Ingredion Canada Corporation, explained: “We appreciate the port’s intermodal capabilities and segregated storage as we expand in Eastern Ontario. In working with the port staff, we have been able to plan inbound and outbound activities that ensure the quality control procedures we need for our non-GMO corn program. The port has displayed an excellent understanding of working with and upholding non-GMO raw materials and has consistently given us the assurance required to continue to grow our program.”