WINNIPEG, MAN. — Cargill has begun construction to expand storage and rail at its Viking, Alta., grain handling facility. Storage capacity will increase by approximately 10,000 tonnes, to 24,000 tonnes from 14,000 tonnes, and car rail handling will increase to 100 cars from 52 previously.

“We recognize the need for more storage and additional car spots,” said Jeff Vassart, president of Cargill Ltd. “We have an opportunity to manage how our grain will move and improve rail shipment efficiency.”

The Viking facility ships the majority of its grain to Cargill’s North Vancouver and Prince Rupert export terminals via rail. Doubling its rail car capacity creates more efficiency throughout the industry, Cargill said.

“With the record 70 million-tonne crop Canada saw this year, the entire industry needs to optimize our ability to perform,” Mr. Vassart said. “Since extra volumes primarily will be exported, each element of the supply chain needs to be as efficient as possible. We all have challenges, whether it’s on-farm, elevator, rail or port. Collaboration throughout the industry is what will drive change and improvement.”

The expansion also will mean more jobs. Cargill will hire four more full-time positions, ranging from sales to operations.

“We are proud to see constant growth in Canadian agriculture,” said Ryan DeChief, general manager for Cargill AgHorizons in Viking. “Our Viking location and team of employees have a reputation of providing our growers with excellent customer service and effective handling. This expansion will even further enhance our ability to best serve our local customers.”

The expansion should be completed by February 2015.