OTTAWA, May 16, 2012 - The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) today announced that Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR) has been chosen as the winner of its 2012 Marketing Award. The RAC Marketing award was created to recognize shortlines for their role in accelerating and increasing the flow of goods through the rail freight supply chain and successfully improve customer service.

CEMR won the award for its innovative mobile, bio-diesel, fuel-blending solution which enables its customers to precision blend traditional diesel fuel with biodiesel fuel. The solution enables fuel suppliers to meet the requirements of Manitoba's Biofuels Act which mandates that two per cent biodiesel be blended into overall sales of diesel fuel. Biodiesel is recognized by Manitoba as the most effective greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction technology.

Shortly before the province's bio-diesel mandate was to take effect in 2010, the fuel industry was not yet equipped to meet the requirements. CEMR was approached by Astra, a diesel supplier, and Imperial Oil, Canada's second largest petroleum company and Astra customer, to devise a rapid-response solution for transforming existing diesel fuel supplies into bio-diesel blends in accordance with provincial regulations.

"Creating the technology, processes and partnerships for enabling bio-diesel blending was no small feat," said Mac MacDonald, CEMR's sales and business development manager. "Existing fuel facilities were not designed or equipped to do the job, so new technology had to be created to allow us to quickly and precisely blend diesel and biodiesel together and get the final product back into the customer's hands quickly. I'm pleased to say we managed to do just that, ultimately enabling a greener GHG footprint for transportation related activities in the province of Manitoba."

The CEMR Solution
CEMR's solution was multifaceted (view video). On the technology front they commissioned the creation of a liquid blending and distribution unit that was capable of blending liquids at a rate of 1,200 litres per minute. The unit was also mobile by design so that it could be transported to any location, attached to up to four fuel sources and then used to create a blend from those sources into one final product.

Logistically, CEMR used its transportation center located six miles from Imperial Oil's facility as the blending location. CEMR transported Low Sulfur Diesel from Imperial Oil while shipping in biodiesel from the US via Canadian Pacific Rail. Using only the liquid blending and distribution unit, tank cars and transloading track infrastructure, CEMR was able to mix the two fuel sources on-site without the use of expensive tanks, loading racks or piping systems, an innovative first in the blending process.

Using CEMR's rail line, the company then transported the blended fuel back to Imperial Oil's facility for distribution at only one of the province's two fuel distribution terminals. The solution was so effective that over the past two years CEMR has blended all of Imperial Oil's summer diesel.

"Shortline operators serve a tremendously important role in Canada's rail ecosystem, servicing industries and local economies in unique ways that class-one operators aren't able to do," said Michael Bourque, President and CEO, Railway Association of Canada. "In this particular case, CEMR had the flexibility and innovative capacity to solve a problem that otherwise would have resulted in significant modifications to existing fuel processing operations and possible delays in meeting Manitoba's bio-diesel mandate. While smaller in size, shortline operators are often essential to solving big problems, as CEMR exemplifies as this year's RAC Marketing Award winner."

The St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (Québec) Inc. was runner-up with its plan for a distribution centre for windmill parts. (view video)

Canada's 50 shortlines play a fundamental role in Canada's supply chain providing a direct link to the Class 1 networks for customers on branch lines. Essential to communities, factories, forestry, pulp and paper facilities, mining in remote regions the traffic collected by the short lines is generally interchanged with main line partners who, on average, move the long haul, high volume traffic to destination. Shortlines are highly customer focused and strive, in conjunction with their Class 1 partners, to provide seamless transportation service from points of origin to destination. Short lines originated 23 per cent of the carloads in 2010.

Central Manitoba Railway (CEMR) awarded 2012 Marketing Award. (From L to R) Claude Mongeau, RAC chairman, and President and CEO of CN, Sean Crick, Assistant General Manager, Central Manitoba Railway, Merv Tweed, MP for Brandon-Souris, Michael Bourque, President and CEO, RAC, and Michael Murphy, Vice-President of Government Affairs, Canadian Pacific.

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