COFCO International Ltd. (CIL) and GROWMARK Inc. (GROWMARK) 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, Illinois, with frontage on the Mississippi River, as well as a grain origination agreement. GROWMARK will staff a grain merchandiser in CIL’s St. Louis office to originate grain and service patron accounts.

“The partnership positions the GROWMARK System for expanded access to value-added grain markets,” said Jim Spradlin, GROWMARK CEO. “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, 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.”

Johnny Chi, the CEO of COFCO International said, “CIL aims to be and be recognized as a world-class global agri-business. A partnership with the second largest agricultural supply and grain cooperative in the United States links COFCO to the growers of the largest grain exporting region in the United States. We strongly believe COFCO/GROWMARK will be a successful win-win venture. CIL’s focus on global grain trading and its commitment to the U.S. ag market will provide GROWMARK’s farmers with a sustainable export demand for their production.”

CIL’s Cahokia facility receives grain via rail and truck for transloading to barges destined for export. The facility has 6 truck receiving lanes, a railroad loop track spanning 34,500 feet with two rail pits, allowing for simultaneous unloading of two shuttle trains of grain and grain products, and two 1,600 tons-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.