Keeping Rail Rates Competitive For Area Farmers

Keeping Rail Rates Competitive For Area Farmers

Keeping Rail Rates Competitive For Area Farmers

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Kevin Whitehall, CEO of Central Washington Grain Growers, says that the new $26 million grain loading facility being built east of Medical Lake by the Highline Grain LLC consortium was requested in 2012 by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway in order to maintain the current 110 car rate structure. Whitehall explains.

WHITEHALL: We load 110 car trains on the CW line now, they're called co-loads. And the difference between a co-load and a shuttle loader, what we're building, is a co-load can be broken up at origin and loaded at different stations - then it goes to one destination, same as a shuttle loader - shuttle loader - one origin, one destination, that's the only difference. If we wanted to maintain a competitive rate, we needed to build a shuttle loader, so that's what prompted the whole process.

The new facility will be capable of loading approximately 80 thousand bushels per hour, and will have a storage capacity of nearly 2 million bushels. With two circle tracks instead of one the facility will be primarily supplied with scoot trains.

WHITEHALL: All these shuttle facilities across the country have to be supplied, recharged, time and time again - and most of them are recharged with trucks and semis. We will recharge this one primarily with rail cars running from Coulee City to the Highline Grain facility near Four Lakes. The facility will be capable of actually loading a shuttle train, unloading a scoot train, loading trucks and unloading trucks all at the same time.

Whitehall says the state of the art facility should be completed by the fall of 2015.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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