Suppliers news: Canpotex, Galaxy, Timetric, Pacific Coast Terminals

A Canpotex train hauling its custom-designed railcars west, near Taft, British Columbia. Photo by M. NelsonA Canpotex train hauling its custom-designed railcars west, near Taft, British Columbia. Photo by M. Nelson

Canpotex hires National Steel Car to build railcars

Canpotex has awarded National Steel Cara $70-million contract to manufacture 700 railcars that will haul potash to coastal ports in North America.

The two companies have done a lot of business together. Since 1999 Canpotex has spent more than $500 million on about 7,000 railcars from the Hamilton, Ontario manufacturer.

“The quality and innovative design of the railcars from National Steel Car will ensure we continue to reliably deliver the potash our global customers need, when they need it,” said Steve Dechka, Canpotex president and CEO.

The railcars are custom designed in Canada to conform to the specific properties of potash, which allows Canpotex to optimize the amount of tonnes per railcar and maximize the number of railcars per train. Canpotex said the railcars have increased overall train efficiencies by 90%, cutting both costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while boosting the firm’s capacity. Since 2000, the specialty railcars have allowed the shipper to double its annual rail shipments without adding a train.

“We are delighted Canpotex’s $70 million investment in railcar capacity will stay in Canada by working with National Steel Car and their Hamilton employees,” Dechka said.

“This order alone will secure approximately seven months of employment for over 400 of our 2,400 employees, and will provide significant additional benefits to our province,” said Gregory J. Aziz, National Steel Car’s chairman and CEO.

Founded in 1972, Canpotex is the exclusive offshore marketing and export company owned by the three big Saskatchewan potash producers: Agrium (TSX: AGU; NYSE: AGU), Mosaic (NYSE: MOS) and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX: POT; NYSE: POT). Canpotex ships more than 10 million tonnes of potash per year, which represents $3 billion in exports.

National Steel Car has been in business for more than a century, specializing in railroad freight and tank car manufacturing.

Galaxy Broadband locks up more capacity

Satellite communications supplier Galaxy Broadband has signed a long term capacity agreement with Telesat to lock up “Ka-band” capacity on its Anik F2 satellite.

With the added capacity, combined with previously contracted space on Telesat’s Anik F3 satellite, Galaxy has secured high performance Ka-band coverage for the long term to serve customers in Canada’s north.

“This signing further confirms the commitment of Galaxy Broadband to supporting Canada’s remote regions including the Arctic with excellent enterprise high-speed satellite internet and VoIP services,” said Rick Hodgkinson, Galaxy president and CEO. “Our latest contract with Telesat enables Galaxy Broadband to provide long term assurance to our current customers while offering potential clients a high performing solution they can count on for many years.”

“We are very pleased that Telesat’s advanced satellite services are enabling customers like Galaxy Broadband to excel in meeting the communications challenges of their commercial clients operating in Canada’s North,” said Michele Beck, Telesat vice-president of North American sales.

Founded in 1992, Galaxy Broadband specializes in providing high quality, enterprise-grade communications to customers in the oil and gas, mining, construction and pipeline industries in North America. The firm’s head office is in Mississauga, Ontario, with regional offices in Alberta, B.C. and Texas.

Telesat is specializes in providing satellite-delivered communications solutions worldwide to broadcast, telecom, corporate and government customers. In 1972, the Ottawa-headquartered company launched into orbit the world’s first commercial domestic communications satellite. Today Telesat has a fleet of 14 satellites, plus one under construction.

Most procurement decisions made at mine sites in North America, survey says

A recent survey of more than 100 mine managers found that a majority of North American miners make procurement decisions at the mine site.

The survey, which was conducted by Timetric, a U.K.-based data, analysis and advisory services provider, asked mine managers to specify where decisions were made regarding the purchase of heavy mobile mining equipment.

Amongst North American mine managers, 65% said procurement decisions were made at the mine site. A quarter of North American respondents said decisions came down from a centralized office within the country.

The survey found that the North Americans are anomalous in their preference for decentralized decision making.

Just 40% of respondents from Africa, Asia and Latin America said buying decisions were made at the mine site.

Looking ahead, 28% of respondents expected more centralization in the years ahead, while 12% of respondents anticipate a decrease in centralization. The majority said they do not expect any change at all.

Pacific Coast Terminals upgrade underway

Pacific Coast Terminals and K+S Group’s Canadian subsidiary K+S Potash Canada have begun modifying the existing bulk handling facility in Port Moody, B.C.

The facility is being transformed so it can handle material from the Legacy potash operation which K+S is developing in Saskatchewan. Potash products from Legacy will be stored at the site and transported to vessels destined for international customers.

In 2014 the two firms signed an exclusive, long-term agreement that called for the upgrade at Port Moody.

This past spring Pacific Coast Terminals got the required permit to go ahead with the project, which includes building a railcar-unloading building and potash-storage warehouse. In addition, upgrades are planned for the water treatment facilities and ship loading equipment.

“We have a very important relationship with Pacific Coast Terminals,” said Ulrich Lamp, president and CEO of K+S Potash Canada.

“The expansion of our operations allows for a greater contribution to the City of Port Moody in terms of new jobs, additional municipal taxes, and increased support to local community organizations and events,” said Lorne Friberg, president and CEO of Pacific Coast Terminals.

Completion of the new potash handling facility is planned for late 2016.

K+S Group has been in the mining and processing business for 125 years. The company main products are potash and salt, which are used for agriculture, food, road safety and industrial processes. The Legacy potash solution mine and production facility is under construction near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Commissioning is expected in the summer of 2016.

Established in 1929, Pacific Coast Terminals owns and operates a bulk materials handling facility located in the inner harbour of Port Metro Vancouver, in Port Moody, B.C. The firm handles more than 5 million tonnes of cargo annually, including dry bulk solid sulphur and liquid glycol.


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