COFCO International Ltd. (CIL) and GROWMARK Inc. announced they have created a new grain partnership, bringing together the robust farmer cooperative network of GROWMARK with the global trading power of CIL to develop an extensive supply chain, directly linking the farmers from the richest food production areas of North America to the global feed and food industry, including its largest demand market: China.
The partnership includes joint ownership and operation of the barge, truck and rail terminal at Cahokia, Ill., with frontage on the Mississippi River, as well as a grain origination agreement. GROWMARK will staff a grain merchandiser in CIL’s St. Louis, Mo., office to originate grain and service patron accounts.
“The partnership positions the GROWMARK system for expanded access to value-added grain markets,” GROWMARK chief executive officer Jim Spradlin said. “U.S. agriculture exports to China totaled $21 billion in 2016; it is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and is consistently ranked as our second-largest agricultural export market.”
Brent Ericson, GROWMARK senior vice president of member business, said, “The partnership provides new markets for our members and farmers and opens strategic partnerships around the world. We believe Cahokia will play a key role in originating grain for the international markets driving global demand and provide a win-win situation for both organizations.”
CIL’s Cahokia facility receives grain via rail and truck for transloading to barges destined for export. The facility has six truck receiving lanes, a railroad loop track spanning 34,500 ft. with two rail pits -- allowing for simultaneous unloading of two shuttle trains of grain and grain products -- and two 1,600 ton-per-hour barge loading belts serving two barge loading docks. The site is served by the Alton & Southern railroad and is able to receive product from all Class I railroads.