Friday, November 08, 2013

Columbia Basin Railroad seeds Pacific Coast Canola

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
  • Print
  • Email
The Columbia Basin Railroad (CBRR) delivered its first unit train of canola seed for Pacific Coast Canola (PCC) at PCC’s facility in Warden, Wash. on the morning of Nov. 7, 2013.

The unit train was loaded at the Cenex Harvest States (CHS) facility in Milton, N.Dak., and then traveled 1,345 miles to the Port of Warden. The train and locomotive including its cargo of canola seed weighed 16,500 tons.

“This train along with future trains delivering canola seed to Warden mark the beginning of a remarkable cooperative effort between PCC, CBRR, CHS, BNSF Railway, and the Port of Warden,” the railroad said. “PCC’s canola crushing and oil refining facility at the Port of Warden is the first and only commercial-scale canola seed crushing operation west of the Rocky Mountains, and is only one of two canola processing plants in North America using expeller-press technology. Given the Port of Warden’s central location on the CBRR and its close proximity to Interstate 90 in the heart of a multi-state region that is ideal for canola production, the PCC facility is well positioned to supply the expanding demand for canola products on the West Coast of the U.S.”

The plant has a processing capacity of 1,100 MT (metric tons) of canola seed per day, which represents approximately 40 million gallons of canola oil and 240,500 U.S. tons of canola meal per year.

This first unit train shipment was the culmination of efforts that began in 2005 when a site at the Port of Warden on the CBRR was identified for a biodiesel facility, and then evolved into a canola seed crushing plant that produces canola oil. The plant began producing canola oil in January of 2013, but has ramped up production in the second quarter by receiving single railcars of canola seed from last year’s crop along with some truck deliveries. The 2013 crop started to move in September and volumes by rail have steadily increased through September, October, and November.

In addition to the track PCC leases from the CBRR to accommodate unloading of unit trains as long as 110 cars, PCC has built several long rail sidings in Warden. “In fact, 110 railcars will supply the plant enough canola seed for about 10 days at full production,” said CBRR President Brig Temple. “This initial unit train of canola seed adds to the many trains that the CBRR hauls to and from Washington State, and would not have been possible without the tremendous cooperation of BNSF Railway, CHS, the Port of Warden, and PCC.”

Columbia Basin Railroad (CBRR) is a locally owned and operated short line railroad headquartered in Yakima, Wash. Founded in 1986 by the Temple Family, CBRR “has a long and successful history of operating rail lines in Washington State” It operates the CBRR (Moses Lake-Wheeler-Schrag-Warden-Bruce-Othello-Connell) and Central Washington Railroad (Yakima-Moxee-Toppenish-Granger-Sunnyside-Grandview-Prosser).

CBRR, the company says, “provides a significant economic benefit to the Columbia Basin of Washington State, hauling over 10,000 carloads of various agricultural and other commodities and cargo to and from the region for 56 active rail shippers. More important, the various shippers that haul cargo on CBRR employ nearly 7,000 people in Grant and Adams Counties.

In 2008, BNSF recognized CBRR as its Short Line Railroad of the Year. “CBRR has an excellent track record of promoting economic and business development in Washington State and provides full service and support to its customers,” the railroad said. “CBRR is proud of its heritage of being a family owned and operated Washington State company, and has a strong history of giving back to local communities where it does business.”

Get the latest rail news

Rail news and analysis from Railway Age, IRJ and RT&S by email