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CN today announced it chose Toyo Engineering Canada Ltd. to design and carry out a pilot project associated with producing CanaPux™ pellets.The project is a key step toward demonstrating the commercial viability of moving bitumen in solid form by rail, CN officials said in a press release. The Class I worked with InnoTech Alberta to develop CanaPux, solid and dry pellets that are designed to float in water. The pellets won’t leak or dissolve, so there’s minimal risk of environmental contamination to oceans, lakes and rivers, CN officials said.The development of this “new supply chain” has the potential to unlock offshore markets for Canada's energy producers, said Janet Drysdale, CN’s vice president of corporate development and sustainability. Toyo Engineering will participate in a closed-loop pilot project to create equipment that can solidify and re-liquefy up to 1,000 barrels of bitumen per day.The Class I and Toyo Engineering will create a presentation center where interested shippers, potential commercial partners and key stakeholders can observe the equipment and how the CanaPux pellets transportation process would work from the origin in Alberta to potential markets worldwide, CN officials said.With the pilot project, the Class I plans to produce CanaPux pellets for further large-scale supply chain testing, including moving the pellets in gondolas, unloading it at port locations, storing it in ground piles and loading it into ships. CN also will continue to explore potential licensing options for CanaPux and identify potential customers.Meanwhile, CN also announced today it will acquire 200 new locomotives over the next three years from GE Transportation. The order includes Tier 3- and Tier 4-compliant Evolution™ Series locomotives equipped with GE Transportation's GoLINC™ platform, Trip Optimizer™ system and Distributed Power LOCOTROL® system.The locomotives will be produced at the GE’s Fort Worth, Texas, plant beginning in 2018. The first units are slated for delivery sometime next year, with the balance to be delivered in 2019 and 2020. "We are bullish on the North American economy and on our ability to compete and win new business with our superior service model. In the years ahead, these GE locomotives and their digital technology will support and enhance our operational efficiency,” said CN President and Chief Executive Officer Luc Jobin.
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