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Cargill to expand Alberta grain site to improve rail shipments

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Cargill Ltd , Canada's third-largest grain handler, said on Thursday that it has begun to expand storage and rail capacity at Viking, Alberta to improve the efficiency of rail shipments.

Record-large wheat and canola harvests this year strained the ability of Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd to quickly move crops from country elevators to ports for export.

Under Cargill's Viking expansion, crop storage capacity will increase by 10,000 tonnes and the site will be able to accommodate 100 rail cars at a time, nearly double the current capacity.

Cargill's Viking facility moves most of its grain by rail to export terminals at North Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Cargill, which competes to buy Canadian grain against Richardson International and Viterra, expects to complete the expansion by February 2015.