A Hub of Activity
By the middle of February the rumours that had been spreading about a major project being designed for the small community of Northgate, were confirmed. The village that straddles the U.S and Canadian borders was going to be the focal point for a major commodities transportation hub, said Ceres Global Ag. Corp., an Ontario-based company.
The $90 million project would see Northgate transformed into a rail hub for the transport of Prairie grain and crude oil to mills and refineries in the United States. A natural rail link with Burlington National Santa Fe Railway’s U.S. network made the deal even more enticing, said corporate president Michael Detlefsen. Forging a new export avenue just 60 kilometres east of Estevan, would see Ceres entering into a partnership agreement with Scoular Co., a Minnesota-based grain handler to market that side of the business.
Construction began almost immediately on the project with two sets of tracks running parallel to one another to transload grain and oil separately onto rail cars. The entire complex leaves lots of room for expansion since Ceres acquired approximately 1,500 acres of land in and around Northgate from which to work, leaving lots of space to serve as a buffer zone for environmental concerns associated with a river system located nearby.