Rail and Carriers

UPM pulp shipment by train

UPM’s First Pulp Transport by Rail Ran Successfully in Uruguay

April 8, 2024 – UPM announced that its first pulp transport by rail ran successfully in Uruguay last week when a train consisting of a locomotive and 14 wagons travelled from the Paso de los Toros pulp mill to UPM’s port terminal in Montevideo. This was also the maiden voyage of the Ferrocarril Central, Central Railway project of the Uruguayan Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

The reconstruction of the Central Railway line from Uruguay inland to the capital Montevideo is one of the most important infrastructure projects in Uruguay's history, carried out as a public-private partnership.

Construction work on the project, which covers a total of 273 km of track, started in 2019 and ended in 2023. After installations, testing and certification, the project progressed to commissioning, and now UPM’s pulp transports are starting to gradually move from trucks to rail.

With its cargo accounting for about half of the total freight to be transported via the rail, UPM is one of the main users of the line but the line offers new business opportunities for all Uruguayan inland industries and the possibility to develop passenger transport.

The trains are operated by DBCC Transport which is a consortium of three companies, Deutsche Bahn of Germany, Cointer Concesiones of Spain and Christophersen of Uruguay.

Paso de los Toros Pulp Mill

UPM’s Paso de los Toros pulp mill began operations in Paso de los Toros, Uruguay in 2023. The mill has the capacity to produce 2.1 million tonnes per year of eucalyptus pulp.



Taylor pulp Mill

Buffalo Rail & Infrastructure has Acquired Taylor Pulp Assets from Canfor for $7 Million

March 22, 2024 - Buffalo Rail & Infrastructure Corp. ("Buffalo") on March 19 announced its $7 million acquisition of Canfor Pulp Products' recently discontinued pulp mill assets, including 300+ acres of heavy industrial land, in Taylor, British Columbia, Canada.

The Taylor pulp mill has been idle since the first quarter of 2022 due to ongoing uncertainty with regards to the availability of economically viable fibre in the region and market weakness for its product — Bleached ChemiThermo Mechanical Pulp (BCTMP). The mill has the installed capacity to produce 230,000 air-dried metric tonnes per year of BCTMP.

According to Buffalo, the property will be repurposed over time into a multi-use industrial distribution and logistics hub focused on serving the region's energy, agricultural and forestry industries.

"When one door closes, another one opens for this site," said Jarrett Zielinski, President & CEO of Buffalo. "We, along with our stakeholders at Buffalo Rail, were able to establish new uses for the discontinued pulp mill that will optimize the site's characteristics and support industrial growth in the region.

"The multi-phased, multi-year development provides a much-needed response to the changing logistics and supply chains needs of industrial participants across multiple industries and sectors in Western Canada and beyond," Zielinski explained.

Involving an estimated $50+ million capital investment in the area, the first phase of development is anticipated to see 100 construction jobs and 30 full-time permanent jobs on the site. Phase 1 is expected to become operational around Q2 of 2025.

Robert Reimer, Chief Financial Officer of Buffalo, commented, "We appreciated working with Kevin Edgson and the folks at Canfor Pulp Products Inc. on this transaction and look forward to working with the community to develop this strategically important site. The features of this site provide boundless opportunity to support the industrial growth forecast for the region."

Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Buffalo Rail & Infrastructure Corp. was created in 2023 by a diverse team of logistics industry veterans to capitalize on global shifts in supply chain strategy. With its mission to develop modernized rail and rail adjacent infrastructure, Buffalo is set to better service the evolving needs of North American producers and shippers.

SOURCE: Buffalo Rail & Infrastructure Corp.


DB Cargo - rail

DB Cargo Makes First Deliveries of Wood to UPM Leuna Biorefinery in Germany

March 15, 2024 - UPM Biochemicals announced another important milestone in the development of the world’s first biorefinery in Leuna, Germany. In partnership with DB Cargo, the first deliveries of wood have now been made to Leuna by rail, establishing and testing the direct rail link to the Leuna operations’ woodyard. This will enable UPM to transport wood sustainably and to strengthen local supply chains, increasing the security of supply with critical raw materials. DB Cargo, specialists in the sustainable and climate-friendlier transport of goods, is a long-standing partner for timber transportation in the rail sector and has been handling UPM’s paper and pulp freight for several years.

“We are excited to welcome the first rail-based wood transports at our newly established wood yard in Leuna,” said Andreas Meggendorfer, Director Supply Chain & Sourcing at UPM Biochemicals. “We will offer fully sustainable renewable chemicals with a significantly better CO2 footprint compared to fossil alternatives. It is paramount that we work on strategies to continuously optimize the environmental performance of our products further. Using rail as a transport mode does exactly that. And by partnering with DB Cargo, we can now rely on a well-known and capable rail logistics partner and have built a resilient and sustainable wood logistics setup for our biorefinery in Leuna.”

“UPM and DB Cargo have been linked by a successful partnership for rail-based inbound logistics of timber for many years. We are therefore very pleased to now be an important supply chain partner for UPM at the new biorefinery in Leuna,” said Thorsten Wartenpfuhl, SVP Sales Consumer Goods, Pulp & Paper, Timber at DB Cargo.

It is worth mentioning, that wood handling and processing activities have started as part of the commissioning and start-up work for the biorefinery. The first wood chips made of wood from sustainably managed regional forests have been produced, confirming the overall progress made on-site.

UPM is investing EUR 1,180 million to build the world’s first industrial scale biorefinery in Leuna that will convert sustainably sourced, certified hardwood into next generation biochemicals – enabling the vital shift away from fossil-based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries. The Leuna biorefinery is part of a broader growth area, UPM Biorefining, that is scaling refineries to produce a variety of renewable fuels and chemicals made from sustainable biomass.



Iowa Northern Railway

CN to Acquire Iowa Northern Railway

Dec. 6, 2023 - Canadian National Railway Company (CN) today announced that it has signed and closed an agreement to acquire Iowa Northern Railway (IANR), which operates approximately 275 track miles in Iowa connecting to CN’s U.S. rail network.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The transaction closed into an independent voting trust pending regulatory review of the transaction by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB).

IANR serves upper Midwest agricultural and industrial markets covering many goods, including biofuels and grain. This transaction represents a meaningful opportunity to support the growth of local business by creating single-line service to North American destinations, while preserving access to existing carrier options.

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Iowa Northern Railway,” said Tracy Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer at CN. “We look forward to the opportunities our combined network will provide customers, farmers, and our partners to respond to the needs of their existing and new markets. By enabling all of us to play an even more important role in this critical supply chain and densifying our southern network, we are accelerating sustainable, profitable growth.”

An STB decision regarding the transaction is expected in 2024.

About Iowa Northern Railway

The Iowa Northern, based in Waterloo, is a critical transportation network in Iowa, facilitating high levels of economic development for the communities it serves. The company has been long regarded as one of the country’s premier and fastest-growing independent shortline railroads led by the Sabin family.



VR Transpoint

VR’s First Electrically Driven Train Transporting Roundwood Arrives at Metsä Group’s Kemi Bioproduct Mill

April 21, 2023 - VR’s first train with electric locomotive transporting roundwood arrived for test runs at Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill. This marked a major step in Metsä Group and VR’s long-term cooperation, ensuring the Kemi bioproduct mill’s wood supply by rail.

At the Kemi bioproduct mill, rail transports will account for approximately two thirds of the roundwood consumed. This translates to roughly 5 million cubic metres per year, or around 8–10 trains per day. Large volumes of wood can be transported in an efficient and environmentally friendly way, with wood loading, rail transports and unloading designed to work smoothly.

“Wood will be transported to the Kemi bioproduct mill from a considerably wider area than at present,” said Hannu Alarautalahti, SVP, Production from Metsä Forest. “Although the average roundwood transport distance by train will be longer, rail transports will ensure emissions are reduced by 20 per cent per cubic metre of wood.

“We’ve built an efficient wood delivery system in Kemi, which is in line with our emissions reduction targets. Wood deliveries by electric locomotives are supplemented by electric autonomous woodyard cranes,” Alarautalahti added.

The transports are powered by VR’s latest engines. Vectron electric locomotives can handle loads as heavy as 2,500 tonnes, which means approximately 20–25 per cent more wood per train. Several shuttle trains, with a single trainset running between a loading and unloading station, have been set up for transports in Kemi.

The efficiency of the transport system also relies on a highly optimised wagon cycle: the time between two successive loading operations can be cut by half compared to average roundwood transports.

All in all, more than 400 wagons will be used for the Kemi bioproduct mill’s rail transports, and the fleet is assigned exclusively to these transports. Traffic infrastructure and related improvements have been addressed from the project’s outset, and they have been designed jointly with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. The mill’s private track enables wood transports with electric locomotives all the way to the mill.

Eljas Koistinen Senior Vice President, VR Transpoint, said, “We have prepared this important project for several years in close cooperation, and we are finally ready to start the transports. In large-scale industrial investments, the efficiency of transports and smooth flow of traffic are key factors. Together with the customer, we have created a solution that seamlessly combines the mill’s operations and rail transports, bringing efficiency to transports.”

Metsä Group’s Kemi bioproduct mill will start up in the third quarter of 2023.

SOURCE: Metsä Group

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