A large North American producer has revealed an ambitious plan to construct Canada’s largest sugar processing plant in Hamilton, Ont.
SucroCan Sourcing says a $135-million investment in a new refinery will equate to the production of some one million metric tonnes of sugar per year at a forthcoming Pier 15 location.
Founder and CEO of SucroCan Jonathan Taylor says the recent need for sugar is great amid an expanding food processing sector and stagnant refining capacity in both Canada and the United States.
“Especially in Ontario, where the demand for sugar is growing at one of the fastest rates in North America,” Taylor explained.
Since September, sugar shortages have been intermittent across Canada amid generally low production and a strike in B.C. at Rogers Sugar Inc. partially motivated by the company’s proposal to increase refinery operations to 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Some 138 workers have been off the job since Sept.28 with Rogers seeking mediation to help bring an end to the work stoppage at its Vancouver refinery.
Several sugar producers announced expansion plans in the second half of 2023 with Rogers promising a $200 million spend to grow capacity at its Montreal operation by 100,00o tonnes a year bringing it to around half a million annually.
Rogers has also committed to expanding its logistics and storage capacity in the Greater Toronto Area.
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In mid-December, Redpath increased production at its cane sugar refinery in Toronto upping yearly capacity by 65,000 metric tonnes per year.
The waterfront entity has an output capacity of more than 2,000 tonnes per day.
The Canadian Sugar Institute estimates some 1.4 million tonnes of refined sugar was produced in four provinces during 2022 with an estimated value of shipments of around $1.4 billion.
Provincial agriculture minister Lisa Thompson expects the Hamilton port’s access to multiple modes of transportation will be key in sustaining the efficiency of SucroCan exports.
“The new facility at the Port of Hamilton also highlights the importance of the added advantage we have in Ontario given the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway – our H2O highway,” said Thompson in a statement.
Ian Hamilton, president and CEO of HOPA Ports, concurs with the assessment confirming the plant will not only be connected to marine, but to rail and highway transportation options as well.
The Ontario government estimates the agriculture and food industry contributed more than $48 billion in GDP to the economy in 2022 and supported roughly one in 10 jobs across the province.
Sucro Sourcing opened a granular sugar refinery at Burlington Street East and Ferguson Avenue in 2019 near Pier 10 at Ferguson Avenue North and Burlington Street East.
Since that time, the company has had three expansions over five years and has a current production rate of around 200,000 metric tonnes per year.
The new plant is expected to open in 2025.
– with files from the Canadian Press
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