SASKATOON—Potash consortium Canpotex has selected Hamilton, Ont.’s National Steel Car to manufacture 700 new rail cars specially designed to transport Saskatchewan potash to coastal ports. Canpotex’s investment in these additional railcars is valued at $70 million.
The order is the latest in a string of Canpotex deals with National Steel Car dating back to 1999. The consortium has invested more than $500 million to build about 7,000 rail cars with the manufacturer.
“Canpotex’s success is due in part to our 43-year reputation as a reliable supplier of potash. The quality and innovative design of the rail cars from National Steel Car will ensure we continue to reliably deliver the potash our global customers need, when they need it,” Canpotex president and CEO Steve Dechka said.
Canpotex’s railcars are custom-designed in Canada by National Steel Car in collaboration with Canpotex to conform to the specific properties of potash. This innovative design has allowed Canpotex to optimize the number of tonnes per rail car as well as maximizing the number of rail cars per unit train. The use of these cars by Canpotex has increased overall train efficiencies by over 90%, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions as well as enhanced capacities within respective rail corridors. As a result, since 2000, Canpotex has doubled its annual rail shipments without adding an additional train and, consequently, without placing any additional strain on Canada’s rail system.
“We are proud of our strong relationship and 20-year history of working with and producing industry-leading potash cars for Canpotex,” Gregory J. Aziz, National Steel Car’s chairman and CEO, said. “We greatly appreciate the trust Canpotex has repeatedly placed with our company. This order alone will secure approximately seven months of employment for over 400 of our 2,400 employees, and will provide significant additional benefits to our Province.”
Potash is Canada’s largest mineral export and Canpotex currently ships in excess of 10 million tonnes per year, representing approximately $3 billion in annual exports. Once in service, Canpotex’s rail cars will transport potash from Saskatchewan to Canpotex port facilities in Canada and the United States, to meet the needs of Canpotex’s customers in 36 global markets.