Transload Facility Will Help Alleviate Midwest’s Liquid Propane Shortage

Teaming up with Union Pacific and Progressive Railroads, Northern Rail & Transload has designed a rail hub featuring a triple loop design with capacity for three 110-railcar unit trains. Ladder tracks will also accommodate storage for up to 500 additional railcars. It is the largest transload facility in rural Wisconsin.

The region is currently underserved by rail transport services due to the lack of adequate transload facilities. Northern Rail & Transload will satisfy the need for on/off loading and storage for a range of commodities from Liquid Propane, road salt and fertilizer to sand, agricultural and forest commodities.

Although it is a multi-modal rail transload which is able to receive many inbound commodities, one of the most important of these is Liquid Propane. The facility has an initial capacity of 15 million gallons per year, replacing approximately 35% of the Western Wisconsin volume.

Propane has historically been trucked from ports on the pipeline and Northern Rail & Transload’s solution lowers the cost of transport due to the cost-effectiveness of unit trains and the proximity of the facility to users.

Beginning in November 2014, Northern Rail & Transload will provide its initial services in time for the upcoming harvest and heating demands. It will reach full capacity by May 2015.

The timing of the availability of this new transload facility is critical given the complete reversal of the Kinder Morgan Cochin pipeline in April of 2014.

For 35 years, the upper Midwest received up to 142 million gallons of propane via this pipeline each year. The reversal involves using the pipeline to carry light condensate up to the heavy oil fields of Saskatchewan in order to blend with heavy crude which dramatically affects Liquid Propane supplies and prices in Wisconsin and Minnesota. A partial reversal in 2013-14 created shortages and price hikes. The complete reversal will have a severe impact on Liquid Propane supplies in the coming fall and winter.

Northern Rail & Transload’s goal is to create a significant positive impact on the supply and price of Liquid Propane in Western Wisconsin and surrounding areas.