Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of potash and Canpotex Limited (Canpotex) is one of the world’s largest suppliers of this vital ingredient used as fertilizer in agriculture.
Read about Canpotex’s 50-year history of helping to nourish the world’s fields in pursuit of food security and how as one of Canada’s largest exporters, it uses our International Prime Contractor program to deliver potash to Bangladesh.
Potash was first discovered in the province of Saskatchewan while drilling for oil in 1943. By 1962, the region had its first commercial potash mine and started growing the number of mines and global sales offices from the 1970s onwards.
In addition to mines, Canpotex also invested in the services and infrastructure to export potash. In 1974, the company opened an office in Regina to take over supply and inland transportation activities from Saskatchewan potash producers. In 1993, the company completed a CDN $30 million investment in Neptune Bulk Terminals in British Columbia which increased storage capacity to 210,000 tonnes and throughput capacity to 6.0 million tonnes.
Innovation in Transportation and Infrastructure
In 1999, Canpotex made another bold move. In collaboration with National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ontario, the company designed a high-capacity railcar dedicated to potash service. These railcars preserve potash quality and increase operational efficiencies. Since 1999, Canpotex has commissioned over 7,000 railcars with National Steel Car. In 2012, the company opened a maintenance facility for its railcars so it could support its growth in offshore markets.
During the 2000s, the company continued to invest in storage infrastructure at key port terminals both on the east and west coast of Canada and increase the number of sales offices in Asia and Latin America. Today the company is Canada’s largest exporter to Brazil, Malaysia, Australia, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Honduras, Martinique, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Uruguay. They are also amongst Canada’s top five exporters to 18 countries.
G2G Contracts with Bangladesh
In 2014, Canpotex made its first sale to Bangladesh. Worth US$40 million, the contract was setup as an inter-governmental or government to government (G2G) contract between CCC and the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC). BADC is an autonomous corporate body under the Ministry of Agriculture and is responsible for the production, procurement, transport, storage and distribution of essential agricultural inputs, such as seed and fertilizers, and providing irrigation facilities for the country’s farmers.
The deal was valued at USD$40 million and enabled Canpotex to supply 120,000 metric tonnes of potash to Bangladesh. There was also an option worth another US$20 million for an additional 60,000 metric tonnes of the fertilizer.
Several more contracts for the delivery of additional potash followed including a deal in 2017 for USD$46 million and a deal in 2018 with a potential value of CAD$70 million. To date, Canpotex has supplied more than one million tons of potash to the BADC and continues to be a trusted supplier.
Canada and Bangladesh Trade Relationship
The value of bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and Bangladesh has more than tripled between 2004 and 2018. Canadian merchandise exports to Bangladesh was $651 million in 2018, of which 70% were agriculture items. Canada’s main exports include cereals, pulses, iron and steel, fertilizer (potash), chemicals, and aircraft and related equipment and services.
Bangladesh is Canada’s fourth largest pulse export market (e.g., dry peas, lentils, chickpeas), and a major market for high quality wheat. Several flagship Canadian companies from the readymade garments, aerospace, defence and security sectors are also active in the Bangladesh market and pursuing new business opportunities
Canpotex rail cars. Source: Canpotex
Potash. Source: Canpotex
The Canadian Commercial Corporation is a federal crown corporation and is only the Canadian agency that offers commercial advocacy, collaborative project development, and international contracting expertise to help Canadian businesses secure contracts with foreign governments at the national, state, and municipal level.
Our International Prime Contractor is a fee-based program where we sign government to government (G2G) contracts with foreign government buyers for the sale of Canadian products, solutions and expertise. To learn more about CCC and how we can help you, contact us.
Last updated: August 2022
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