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BNSF Railway Co.'s customers invested nearly $7.7 billion in new or expanded facilities in 2017, the Class I announced yesterday.Last year marked the seventh consecutive year that BNSF customers and local economic development organizations invested more than $1 billion in a calendar year on new or expanded facilities. The investments are expected to generate 3,500 new jobs in local communities, according to a BNSF press release."The focus of the BNSF economic development team is to facilitate and expedite the process of establishing rail service for our customers, so these types of customer investments highlight the innovative transportation solutions our rail network provides to a range of businesses and industries," said Colby Tanner, assistant vice president, economic development.The new developments in 2017 supported a range of commodities including agriculture, chemicals, consumer products, ethanol, fertilizer, industrial products and petroleum in more than 100 communities across the BNSF network.Highlights of the supply chain solutions that BNSF helped customers achieve last year include:• Iowa Fertilizer Co. The firm's $3 billion fertilizer plant in Wever, Iowa, began production in 2017. It's anticipated the plant will produce up to 2 million metric tons of fertilizer and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) products annually.• Spectrum Brands, which consolidated itshardware and home improvement operations from two distribution centers to one, located at Logistics Park Kansas City, in Edgerton, Kansas. The multimillion-dollar project included a 927,000-square-foot distribution center.• Ganahl Lumber Co., which built a $50 million rail-served lumber facility in Torrance, California.
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