Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mayor Jack says that the Canpotex decision process is still on track!

Canpotex has still not decided where to locate a new facility, but is in the processing of preparing a recommendation for its Board in December of this year.”-- A Canpotex statement from Thursday, keeping its options open and its comments sparse, when it comes to planned investment options for it's Pacific terminal plans.

The announcement of earlier this week of a 37.5 million dollar upgrade to the Canpotex terminal in North Vancouver, isn't causing a lot of alarm at City Hall at the moment.

Neptune Terminals, which counts Canpotex as a major shareholder announced it's plans two days ago to double their ability when it comes to shipping potash product out of North Vancouver, all thanks to the renovations that will take place over the next few months at their Lower Mainland port facility.

Neptune Terminals is one of two options for Canpotex investment and expansion, with Prince Rupert also recently linked to the Saskatchewan potash corporation's plans as they try to decide whether to build a brand new facility on Ridley Island, or expand on the existing facility at Neptune.

According to a recent article in the Northern View, the news from in North Vancouver is not the final word on those potential expansion plans, as they are more of a long planned upgrade of the Neptune Terminals operation.

Mayor Jack Mussallem was quoted in that article as expressing confidence that Prince Rupert was still in the running for the much coveted investment plans of the company, which recently outlined their options for a Prince Rupert gathering in September.

Today's Northern View has more details on their latest developments, this time with a short statement from Canpotex which states that no decision has been made yet about their final terminal plans, with a recommendation to be presented to the Board in December.

Between now and that time any number of factors could rise up to sway that decision, the least of which could be the financial picture of Canpotex. The business papers this week have provided a glimpse into the unpredictable nature of the potash market, with details on a drop of profits of up to 80 per cent at Potash Corporation in this last quarter. Those numbers however don't seem to be holding back the producers of Potash and their long term expectations on the future of the potash market.

It will be how they weigh those financial numbers from the commodities markets and balance them off with what they believe the future holds for their product, that will probably dictate where Canpotex plans on spending their money.
If Canpotex finds that the upgrade in North Vancouver, which doubles their ability to ship product will prove to be workable for the short term, then one would suspect that any long term plans for terminal developments will end up on a back burner for the foreseeable future until the financials make sense.

It will be with interest that Rupertites await that December recommendation and what it may or may not have to offer to the North Coast as far as investment and employment opportunities.

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