The new CEO of Canpotex Ltd, Ken Seitz, expects that the company will decide towards the end of next year where to expand its West Coast terminal capacity, a decision that might give it a faster route to Chinese customers in a very competitive market. One of the options for expansion is building a $775-million terminal at Prince Rupert, B.C, which would allow the Canadian potash giant to bypass busy Port Metro Vancouver and decrease shipping times to China by two days, Mr. Seitz said. “We never want ports to be the bottleneck, so we need sufficient capacity,” he said adding that “if we take a long-term view, we believe that to properly position ourselves, we’ll need more port capacity somewhere.”
The Prince Rupert project has been in development for many years but Mr. Seitz said that Canpotex is planning to close in on a decision in the next half a year. It might be ready to announce it around late 2016, Ken Seitz, who previously ran the uranium miner Cameco Corp., commented. Canpotex is owned by the world’s leading mining giants, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Mosaic Co. and Agrium Inc. and accounts for about a fifth of global sales of potash that is used to fertilize corn and other crops. Instead of constructing a terminal at Prince Rupert, the company could also expand its facilities in Vancouver or Portland, Ore. The decision to expand comes at the time when potash prices are still very weak and declining as weaker currencies in key markets Brazil and India continue plunging. Germany’s K+S AG is building Canada’s first green field potash mine in 40 years as well as a port handling facility at Port Moody, B.C.