CentrePort expecting ‘banner’ year: CEO

Inland port breaks ground on $19-M distribution facility

By Temur Durrani, Winnipeg Free Press

A new building will pop up soon at North America’s largest trimodal inland port and foreign trade zone, located at the heart of the Prairies in Winnipeg.

Commercial and residential real estate company, Whiteland Developers, has broken ground on a $19-million distribution centre — part of the nearly 250 acres owned by Whiteland at the 20,000-acre CentrePort Canada.

The 100,000-square-foot facility will house Canadian fertilizer business Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, which is entering a new lease for 10 acres with Whiteland at CentrePort.

The building is set to finish construction in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“Despite the pandemic, the last year has really been an incredibly busy time for industrial activity at our site and this is a big signal that we’re ready for more action to come,” said Diane Gray, president and CEO for CentrePort, in an interview on Monday.

“Development shows no signs of slowing down and we’re looking at another banner year for land sale and construction,” said Gray. “There are over 2,000 acres in active development within the inland port footprint and more than $220 million in development permits have been issued since 2019.”

Situated adjacent to Winnipeg’s Richardson International Airport, CentrePort was created in 2008 by provincial legislation and falls partly in the Rural Municipality of Rosser. It connects to major national and international trade gateways and corridors, and is the only inland port in Canada with direct access to trimodal transportation — truck, rail and air cargo.

More than 100 companies have joined the port since its inception, but Whiteland has always been among the biggest players at the site, said Gray.

Since 2018, Whiteland has brought two fully-serviced industrial parks to market at CentrePort: BrookPort and InksPort Business Parks.

Sam Sidhu, president of Whiteland, said he’s excited to welcome Nutrien into the BrookPort Park — a project that was brought to market in two phases, both of which are already fully sold.

“Thirteen companies are operational or already have facilities under construction at BrookPort,” said Sidhu in an interview, adding one of them is also the anchor tenant, Merit Functional Foods.

“We’re very happy about this agricultural leader coming into this space now because it means a lot more jobs and opportunity for Manitobans, in a park where already up to 300 jobs have been created.”

Sidhu could not legally disclose the timelines of Nutrien’s contractual agreement, but said “they’ve signed a really, really long-term lease” for the design-built facility.

“We see Nutrien here for quite some time,” he said. “And we can’t wait to announce all the other exciting things that are coming next from us at Whiteland.”


Winnipeg Free Press, June 15, 2021