Two 10,000-tonnes storage tanks are sprouting up on Pier 12 at the port of Hamilton as part of a new development by Sylvite Agri-Services. The tanks will receive and store UAN, a urea-based nitrogen fertilizer, which is used extensively in agricultural production throughout Ontario. The $4-million storage tanks are slated to be ready to receive their first cargo this spring.

Port tenant Sylvite is the largest Canadian-owned, independent wholesaler of farm fertilizer in Ontario and eastern Canada. The company’s investment is in response to a growing demand for storage capacity in Ontario. The new tanks will more than double the company’s capacity at the port of Hamilton, from its current 18,000 tonnes to over 38,000 tonnes total. The development is an example of the location advantage the Port offers its tenants and other users.

“Marine access allows us to secure product on the global market in greater unit amounts, and gives us direct access to markets like Europe, South America and the Caribbean,” said Ted Heggart, Sylvite Vice-President. “Whenever you are buying commodities like UAN on the international market, storage capacity is useful, it gives you the flexibility to purchase more when prices are favourable.”

Facilities like Sylvite’s new tanks play a critical role in facilitating the movement of commodities, and contribute to competitive prices for Ontario’s agricultural producers. Hamilton now serves as a major entry point in southern Ontario for this important agricultural input. More than 217,000 tonnes of liquid fertilizer was shipped through the port in 2012, up 15 per cent over 2011. This steady cargo growth is part of Port of Hamilton’s continuing development as an agri-food hub in the region, part of a $1.5-billion sector that is surging city-wide.

“Sylvite’s addition to the Port’s agricultural-sector infrastructure is a natural fit,” said Ian Hamilton, Hamilton Port Authority’s (HPA) Vice-President of Business Development. “We pushed hard to meet the company’s timelines and make this project happen.” HPA worked closely with Sylvite to facilitate the development; for example, negotiating with other Port tenants to free up more than 36,000 square feet of Port land on Pier 12 to accommodate the new tanks. The Sylvite partnership represents a model that HPA can see working with other port tenants and new investors who would like to partner on infrastructure developments.