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BNSF Railway Co. recently opened a new economic development office in Bismarck, N.D., to offer expanded support to new and existing customers in the region.The Class I held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the downtown office on May 30. In addition to economic development employees, sales and marketing workers will be located in the new facility."The railroad enables more than 15 million tons of North Dakota's wheat, soybeans and other ag products to reach world markets each year. More than 50 percent of the state's Bakken crude production can move to market on our rail network," said Vann Cunningham, BNSF's assistant vice president of economic development, in an item posted on the "BNSF News" web page. "Adding an economic development office here helps us continue strong relationships with our state and local economic development partners, as well as creates new opportunities to support economic growth in North Dakota."BNSF handles about 2 million carloads in North Dakota each year. Since 2010, the Class I has been instrumental in locating 75 new or expanding facilities in the state, creating more than 680 jobs and spurring more than $690 million in investments, BNSF officials said.The railroad employs more than 1,500 people in North Dakota, and has hired more than 400 during the past two years to fill new and existing positions. In the Bismarck-Mandan area, BNSF employs 360 people.