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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Ceres Global, Cogent Energy to build BNSF-served grain and crude oil facilities


Ceres Global Ag Corp. plans to develop a commodity logistics hub in Northgate, Saskatchewan, that would be served by BNSF Railway Co.

Ceres Global purchased 1,500 acres in Northgate to build a logistics hub featuring two rail loops designed to accommodate unit trains carrying up to 120 cars. One loop will be dedicated to a grain handling and shipping facility, and the other to transloading and oil shipping.

Construction is scheduled to start in the spring, subject to necessary permits and approvals, and the finalization of agreements with project partners. Initial grain and oil shipments would begin later this year.

The $90 million hub, which will be built over a three-year period, is designed to handle up to 40 million bushels of grain annually and 70,000 barrels of oil per day.

U.S. agricultural marketing firm the Scoular Co. will fund, own and operate the grain handling facility, and Ceres' grain subsidiary Riverland Ag will be a major hub customer, Ceres Global officials said in a prepared statement.

The Northgate hub will help ease a bottleneck when moving commodities —especially grain and oil — out of Saskatchewan, and provide a more competitive option for shippers and exporters, said Ceres Global President Michael Detlefsen.

"We are building on the significant experience gained from our investment in the Stewart Southern Railway, one of the largest transporters of oil by rail in western Canada," he said.

Meanwhile, Cogent Energy Solutions L.L.C. and Granite Peak Development L.L.C. announced plans to build a joint crude oil unit train loading facility along BNSF’s mainline at Granite Peak’s Casper Logistics Hub near Casper, Wyo. Construction is slated to begin in April and conclude in October 2013.

The facility is designed to load multiple grades of crude oil, both heavy and light, and blend crude onsite. A double-loop track design with 20 loading arms per loop will enable the terminal to simultaneously load two 118-car unit trains with different crude grades, Cogent Energy officials said in a press release.

"Crude-by-rail is consistently providing producers with a flexible, long-term and economic solution to ship crude oil to destination markets along East, West and Gulf coasts, and along the Mississippi River," said Dave Garin, BNSF's group vice president-industrial products.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/6/2013