It’s said necessity is the mother of invention. Putting Plato’s philosophy into practice is Real Tetrault, president of Mid Canada Transload Services, who built an inland port to meet demands of customers.
“I have another company called Emerson Milling, an oat milling plant, and we needed to have rail to ship our products. We had some issues with CN Rail to the point where we decided we needed to build our own railway. So, that’s where Mid Canada Transload got started,” said Tetrault.
Located in Letellier, Manitoba, the 250 acre Mid Canada industrial park is about seven miles north of the U.S. border. When complete, two miles of track will be built for transporting goods on an interchange that connects to American railways run by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and CN Rail. The site has direct access to Highway 75.
“The intention is to keep building lines within the 250 acres of land that we’ve purchased,” said Tetrault.
The more than $10 million privately funded project is expected to be fully operational by May or June.
Tetrault said the railway will produce savings for clients looking to move product in and out of Manitoba and into the U.S. and Mexico. Currently, the site can accommodate 70 cars, but plans are in the works to expand capacity by an additional 50 cars.
“If you have to truck eight hours or 10 hours, after that you should be using rail. That’s the kind of rule of thumb I’ve been using…One rail car is equal to four truck loads,” said Tetrault.
Currently, it’s planned that the rail line will only move agricultural products, food grade products, organics, fertilizer, and industrial/manufacturing products. Mid Canada also has a warehouse and receiving elevator for agricultural goods.
Although yet to be completed, the three-year project has gotten positive feedback and a lot of interest. Tetrault said customers have already expressed interest in shipping 25 cars a week on the rail line to 25 cars a month. He declined to say who his customers are.
“There’s been all kinds of volume interest, but time will tell…,” said Tetrault.