U.S. agribusiness Cargill Inc said it will build a grain handling facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, to purchase corn, sorghum, soybeans and wheat that the company could ship down the Mississippi River to U.S. Gulf Coast export terminals.
Minneapolis-based Cargill, one of the world's largest private companies, said on Thursday it will invest $45 million in the terminal in West Memphis, located on the western bank of the Mississippi. The river is the main shipping route to the Gulf, where about 60 percent of all U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat exports exit the country.
When completed, the elevator will be capable of loading up to eight barges daily and of holding up to five barges, Cargill said in a release that did not provide a timeline for the project. Competitors Bunge Ltd and CHS Inc also have facilities in West Memphis while Archer Daniels Midland Co has an elevator on the other side of the river in Memphis, Tennessee.
"The West Memphis location will be easy to reach with large semi-loads of grain, and will have excellent access for loading barges, during both high and low river levels," said Fred Oelschlaeger, regional manager for Cargill's southern river region.
The facility will complement Cargill's elevator just north of that location in Hales Point, Tennessee, where a $25 million modernization project that tripled the grain handling capacity was completed in 2012, the company said.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)