Westlock Terminals

Co-op Grain Operator

Formed in 2002, Westlock Terminals (NGC) is a new generation co-operative grain terminal. Situated in Westlock, Alta., north of Edmonton, it is the province’s first NGC grain company.

A jointly owned commercial operation, the ownership structure of Westlock Terminals is comprised of more than 270 shareholders, a group which includes local farmers and businesspeople from the surrounding community. Living by a mission statement to be a profitable, customer driven new generation co-op that pursues sustainable growth, Westlock Terminals attributes its success to its people and organizational leadership. The objective is to be Alberta’s leading co-operative within the grain agri-services industry.

Funded through capital investment from an extensive shareholder group, Westlock Terminals has formed a profitable venture that continues to serve the Westlock community in providing regular returns and dividend yields to the company’s shareholders. The Westlock Terminals website describes, “This commitment facilitates the viability of local infrastructure in addition to providing investors a positive return on their investment. This commitment is evident in the organization’s mission and vision, now and for the future.”

Co-operative Success

Sharing in the success of the organization, the Westlock Terminals NGC provides several benefits to its membership structure. Members feel a sense of ownership and loyalty toward their local facility. Serving grain dependent communities, Westlock Terminals has established a history of success through the determination of its investors, like local farmers, who believe in the co-operative method and a strong presence within the grain sector. As a result, Westlock Terminals has continued to experience year-over-year growth across its business operations, recognized through its abilities to market grain to feed mills, feed lots, and ethanol plants across Western Canada.

Clifford Bell, CEO of Westlock Terminals, told The Canadian Business Journal, “We are small enough that we do not have a lot of bureaucracy, so we are able to quickly react to market conditions, which has helped us out over the years.

“We are unique because we have grassroots governance in management and everyone that is involved, whether it be directors, employees, farmers, or local businesspeople, everyone has skin in the game. We have a lot of motivated and knowledgeable farmers and staff that have demonstrated that can-do attitude that has carried the co-operative through to this day.”

Growth Aspirations

Offering grading, marketing advice, and fertilizer quotes to local farmers, Westlock Terminals also specializes in a direct farm fertilizer business, as well as domestic and export grain sales. As an example, the company often ships product to Port Metro Vancouver and Prince Rupert, B.C. Although most of its grain is bound for Alberta and Lower Mainland, B.C., Westlock Terminals continues to explore product distribution opportunities, particularly into the fertilizer and seed markets in an effort to provider these added services to local growers.

Most recently, Westlock Terminals announced that the company was named as an approved dealer to ENR Distribution, a fertilizer provider based in Stettler, Alta. This relationship will see Westlock Terminals supply ENR Distribution’s fertilizer products to area farmers. The move ensures a lower cost input and increased profitability for Westlock Terminals’ customer base.

“We are very excited to commence operation in this new venture,” Bell indicated in a report. “It is part of a growth strategy that we have embarked upon. It will serve our member customers well in the future in this challenging and dynamic industry.”

Looking toward the future, the expectation is that Westlock Terminals will further expand its geographic reach. Westlock Terminals is interested in building upon local business opportunities to provide service to a wider range of farmer customers.

“We are looking to expand our facilities right here in Westlock,” Bell commented. “We will grow our footprint to multiple establishments to spread our geographic risk and ultimately enhance our service to our customers.”

The agricultural industry has continued to experience growth in recent years – one of few sectors that didn’t face economic peril through the recent recession – and Westlock Terminals has been a part of that growth. Now more than 10 years in business, the company is able to reflect on its past successes and its plan to continue along this path into the future. As a new generation co-operative, Westlock Terminals has emerged as a major player throughout Alberta’s dynamic agricultural industry.