Saturday, April 25, 2015

Owen Sound port for sale

The federal government is inviting bids for 50 ports, including two that have grain terminals – Owen Sound and Baie-Comeau.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt on Friday announced a new Ports Asset Transfer Program (PATP) to “facilitate the transfer” of port facilities to other owners or levels of government, naming 50 ports the government aims to get off its books.

Among those are the Port of Owen Sound on Georgian Bay where there is a 93,000-tonne capacity Great Lakes Elevator terminal operated by Parrish and Heimbecker (P+H).

The PATP list also includes the Port of Baie-Comeau on the St. Lawrence Seaway, home to Cargill’s 441,780-tonne capacity grain terminal.

P+H was in talks with Transport Canada’s port programs directorate up until January last year to take over the Owen Sound port, but Transport Canada announced that month the talks had “ended without a divestiture being concluded.”

Owen Sound’s harbour bottom has been filling with silt and needs dredging soon to remain viable for commercial boat traffic, but Transport Canada has said it would deal with the dredging issue only once a deal is sealed for divestiture of the harbour.

In a 2012 evaluation of its port operations program, Transport Canada found Baie-Comeau and Owen Sound — plus four other ports remaining on the PATP list — were still “actively utilized as commercial wharves or ports with ongoing relevance to the community and the region.