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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has recognized four member railroads with 2021 Business Development Awards for business and volume growth efforts in partnership with customers and local area economic development authorities.
To be considered for the award, a member must demonstrate its unique operating characteristics to deliver value; partner with other development authorities, Class Is or shippers; and generate economic success for the railroad and the community it serves, ASLRRA officials said in a news release.
The 2021 Business Development Award winners are:
• Ironhorse Resources Inc., for its Santa Teresa Southern Railroad in New Mexico, which steadily built a relationship with customers shipping windmill blades for wind farms, requiring creative thinking and substantial infrastructure investments;
• Lake State Railway Co., which adapted quickly to the uncertainty of customers who may have shuttered their facilities as a reaction to the pandemic and developed seven transload sites along its Michigan lines, adding nine new customers that produced volume growth in 2020's last two quarters;
• Pan Am Railways Inc., which — with the paper industry suffering from a shift from print to digital media — was able to land customer Nine Dragons Paper, the largest Chinese paper exporter, that turns old corrugated cardboard from America into recycled pulp for containerboard in Asia. Nine Dragons retrofitted four paper mills on Pan Am's line; and
• R. J. Corman Railroad Group, which after acquiring what is now its subsidiary Carolina Lines, grew that railroad's annual carloads from zero to 5,157 in about five years.
"The award honors the essence of what short lines are all about — developing a keen understanding of their customers’ needs, identifying opportunities to grow with their customers, and having the drive to turn every one of those opportunities into a benefit for their customers and the communities they serve," said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker.
The association will present the awards on Nov. 18 during its annual conference in Phoenix.