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P+H in talks for Owen Sound port

Grain handler Parrish and Heimbecker has confirmed it’s in talks with Transport Canada to take over operation of the port of Owen Sound, Ont., where it already operates a grain terminal.

The port, on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, is one of 34 “regional/local” ports in Canada now under the jurisdiction of Transport Canada’s port programs directorate, tasked with divesting such ports to other public- or private-sector management.

Owen Sound Mayor Deborah Haswell, speaking at a Sept. 9 council meeting, announced P+H had “stepped forward to discuss divestiture of the harbour” with Transport Canada.

Winnipeg-based P+H, Haswell noted, has been invested in the port for years as the owner/operator of Owen Sound’s Great Lakes Elevator Co. grain terminal.

P+H plans to advise both the Owen Sound and federal governments of its interest and position once the company has reviewed “technical and environmental information” from Transport Canada, Haswell was quoted as saying in council minutes.

If an agreement can be reached on divestiture, a town hall-style public meeting will be held with the port’s new owner and the city “for public dialogue,” she said, noting continued public access to the harbour is “paramount” for the community.

According to local media, the harbour bottom is filling with silt and needs dredging soon for Owen Sound to remain a viable commercial port. However, Haswell told council, Transport Canada plans to address the dredging issue only once the divestiture of the harbour, either to the city or another entity, has been finalized.

P+H has confirmed its talks with Transport Canada in local and regional media reports, but the company added it’s bound by an agreement not to discuss details of the negotiations.

P+H’s Owen Sound terminal has 93,000 tonnes of grain capacity and 11 truck loading bins and can accommodate ships up to 750 feet long including self-unloading ships and bulkers. The terminal can also load out to laker vessels and smaller ocean-going vessels (“salties”). — Network

Related stories:
Great Lakes grain handler surrenders to hostile takeover, July 6, 2012
P+H, Cargill to share Thunder Bay port terminal, May 3, 2013

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