Blog # 2 - How G3's "Smarter Path" Is Becoming Reality
G3 was created in 2015 as a new Canadian grain handling company with an ambitious vision statement: ‘Building a smarter path from farmers’ fields to global markets.’ This would be achieved by creating a network of high-efficiency grain handling facilities across Western Canada, anchored by G3 Terminal Vancouver: the first new grain export terminal built at the Port of Vancouver since the 1960s.
The network is based on the “power-on, loop-to-loop” model. Prairie grain elevators load trains on a loop track that allows for near-continuous motion and eliminates the need to disconnect power and shunt the cars back and forth on traditional ladder-style tracks. CN and CP grain trains, which at 150-cars are bigger than ever, are loaded faster than ever: in hours instead of days.
At G3 Terminal Vancouver, a larger version of the loop track can accommodate three 150-car unit trains at the same time. They unload grain in continuous motion as they move around the tracks, and in less than 24 hours all three can be on their way back to the Prairies for another load.
G3 Terminal Vancouver opened in 2020 and began setting new port records for rapidly unloading trains and loading ships for export. By the end of 2021 G3 had built more than a dozen high-efficiency loop-track grain elevators across the Prairies (two more are under construction). The remarkably rapid back-and-forth of grain trains between Prairie elevators and G3 Terminal Vancouver – cutting the rail cycle time by 40 to 50 per cent – is now the norm across the network. The ‘smarter path’ has moved from vision to reality.
G3 is also a significant part of the grain supply chain in Eastern Canada. The company operates port terminals in Thunder Bay, ON; Hamilton, ON (which opened in 2017); Trois Rivières, QC and Quebec City which ship grain from the Prairies, southern Ontario and Quebec along the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and on to overseas markets.
G3 currently has a staff of more than 600 at locations across Canada. The company’s head office is in Winnipeg.