A Warden, Wash., processing plant has received its first unit train of canola, but managers say they ultimately hope to buy most of the feedstock from local producers.
Pacific Coast Canola received a 113-unit train Nov. 7.
The facility can process 1,100 metric tons of canola seed per day, and expects to reach full capacity by the end of the year. A shipment of 110 cars provides the plant enough canola seed for about 10 days at full production.
“The unit train receiving capability gives us a lot of flexibility on in-bound logistics,” chief operating officer Matt Upmeyer said. “It offers a significant freight savings, we can receive trains from much further destinations at competitive freight costs.”
The company’s ultimate goal is to receive all of its canola from Pacific Northwest farmers, but that will take several years, Upmeyer said.
“In the next couple years we certainly hope there’s enough seed grown in the four-state region that we can buy it all locally,” he said.
Pacific Coast Canola currently purchases all of its canola through cooperative elevators and grain dealers.
The train was unloaded within the time frame stipulated on the unit train rate, Upmeyer said. He declined to specify the length of time, saying it was proprietary information.
Upmeyer expects to receive future trains, but said he did not have a schedule. It’s going to be market-driven, he said.
“This is a big step for us,” he said. “We’re incredibly pleased we were able to get it unloaded in the time allotted. We’re here to grow this business and we’d love to see farmers growing canola.”
The unit train traveled approximately 1,350 miles from the Northern Plains to Warden, according to the Columbia Basin Railroad.