BNSF drives $1.2 billion in customer investments

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Customers served by BNSF Railway invested $1.2 billion in new or expanded facilities in 103 communities and created more than 1,500 jobs across the BNSF rail network in 2015, marking the fifth consecutive year that BNSF customers and local economic development organizations have invested more than $1 billion annually for new or expanded facilities.

“With BNSF’s experience and expertise, we work with communities to bring businesses and jobs to locations where our network operates,” said Colby Tanner, BNSF’s new Assistant Vice President, Economic Development. “Freight rail transportation offers great efficiencies and effectiveness for a range of businesses and industries and our job is to help facilitate and expedite the sometimes complex process of establishing rail service and a transportation infrastructure that is attractive to industry. More transportation and logistics options then help drive investments and employment opportunities across the communities we serve.”

“BNSF’s network is ideal for the logistics needs of today’s complex supply chain and the BNSF team continues to strengthen its ability to offer customers customized ways to accelerate improvements to their supply chain process—from site selection to optimizing distribution networks,” added Tanner, who joined BNSF in late 2015 to replace the retiring Vann Cunningham and “hopes to continue the streak accomplished by my predecessor.”

The 103 customer locations for which BNSF provided assistance encompassed states in three-fourths of the railroad’s network at customer sidings, rail yards and transload facilities for a wide variety of commodities including agriculture, industrial products, chemicals, petroleum, building supplies and waste management.

Specifically, BNSF played a key role in the expansion of agriculture-related facilities in Iowa, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas and Washington State. BNSF serves as a rail partner for Preferred Freezer Services’ new temperature-controlled warehouse to support distribution of frozen potato products in Richland, Wash. The Preferred Freezer Services new warehouse is now the largest refrigerated warehouse in North America, as it generated more than 100 new jobs as the first development of its kind in Washington State.

In Jonesboro, Ark., BNSF worked with two redevelopment projects to spark the local economy at an established industrial park with direct BNSF rail service. First, Anchor Packaging expanded its business with a new facility in Jonesboro after it revitalized a vacant facility and constructed new tracks. Anchor Packaging’s Jonesboro manufacturing plant makes plastic containers for the foodservice industry and is its fourth in Northeast Arkansas. Meanwhile, BNSF worked with TrinityRail Maintenance Services as it established a new operating facility in Jonesboro. The growth positions the community as a hub for railcar maintenance and services to the rail industry.

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