Customers shipping grains by rail with Canadian Pacific may now cross northeastern Iowa on a family-owned shortline serving two corn ethanol facilities.
CP on Thursday announced a trackage rights agreement with Iowa Northern Railway (IANR), a Cedar Rapids-based company whose lines connect Cedar Rapids with Cedar Falls and Mason City. Its lines outside Mason City connect it to the former Iowa, Chicago and Eastern Railroad Corp. (IC+E) line, now owned by CP.
The agreement is expected to boost rail business options for ag commodity shippers by way of CP and IANR track, the two companies said Friday.
CP will also be able to market transportation services directly to existing and future customers IANR serves, the company said.
Among IANR’s customers are a pair of corn ethanol processing plants at Fairbank and Shell Rock, both owned by fuel processor Flint Hills Resources. IANR also serves Manly Terminal, a major ethanol distribution facility north of Mason City.
The deal with CP also allows IANR to run on CP’s ex-IC+E line between the communities of Garner and Nora Springs, near Mason City.
That part of the deal is expected to benefit rail customers from Forest City south to Belmond, Ia., between which IANR recently bought an unrelated 50-km stretch of track that crosses the CP line at Garner.
Having access over CP track from Garner to Nora Springs "restores good service and competitive rates to customers who have not enjoyed rail service for several years," IANR president Dan Sabin said in a release.
"In our first three weeks, we have handled more loads off of the line than had been handled over the past five years."