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Associate Member Profile: Cando Rail & Terminals

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Cando Rail & Terminals is an RAC associate member that employs more than 1,000 employees at more than 50 locations across Canada, including its headquarters in Brandon, Manitoba. Cando supports both shippers and rail companies. It also has approximately 110 locomotives and trackmobiles combined (90+ locomotives) in a shortline fleet that helps the company embed itself into customers’ supply chains and get products where they’re needed when they’re needed. In June, Cando announced the successful completion of its Sarnia Terminal expansion – which increased railcar capacity from 85 to 550 spots. We spoke to Cando’s Julie Pomehichuk about the ways in which Cando is helping move Canada’s economy forward.

How does Cando support Canadian railways and shippers?

Our first-mile, last-mile rail services and infrastructure provide value to both our shipper clients and our Class 1 railway partners. We have a unique ability to leverage our extensive rail operating capabilities and our network of owned multi-purpose rail terminals, to optimize rail supply chains. We are integrated into our shipper clients’ supply chains, on the ground helping them develop rail-related solutions to maximize efficiency. And our strategic partnerships with Class 1 railways are focused on increasing efficiency and driving growth.

What trends are you seeing right now?

We design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) economical, dedicated railyards and rail infrastructure and we are seeing increased demands for improving efficiency through rail infrastructure development, which is developing strategic partnerships that drive throughput growth for all parties involved. We are also seeing an emphasis on renewable fuels and the development of rail infrastructure that will help clients grow this area of business.

Cando’s operations span the entire country. What opportunities does it bring you to have such a vast reach?

With strategically located terminals and in-yard operations located coast to coast, we can stage and store our customers’ fleets, provide increased rail capacity in key markets, move and transfer product, and optimize rail operations. We allow clients to focus on their core business and ensure that their product is moved where they want it and when they want it. Our terminals allow our clients to have one railcar staging and storage provider for its entire fleet and our in-yard operations allow us to provide first-mile, last-mile rail services at our clients’ locations so they can focus on production.

What drove the need for the Sarnia Terminal expansion?

Demand for increased rail capacity serving southern Ontario. We purchased the existing rail terminal near Sarnia in the spring of 2021. Expansion plans began immediately. There were several regulatory and environmental requirements our infrastructure development team worked through before getting shovels in the ground in the spring of 2022. But the expansion was on time and on budget. It provides additional rail capacity to southern Ontario and expands Cando’s national network.

What sort of impact does this expansion in Sarnia have regionally and nationally?

Cando Sarnia Terminal is located on approximately 90 acres in southern Ontario, directly served by CN off the CN St. Clair industrial spur. This location is a highly attractive region for rail activity and services; it’s close to more than 60 facilities and refineries within 25 km of Sarnia. Our expansion of Cando Sarnia Terminal increases rail capacity for our clients in this region and allows them to stage and store railcars and move products more efficiently.

What sort of growth do you hope to accomplish and by when?

For Cando Sarnia Terminal in particular we are looking at a “Phase 2” expansion which would add another 130 railcar spots. This is based on demand from clients and we haven’t set a timeline yet. Cando Sarnia Terminal is one of 10 strategically located Cando terminals across Canada. We continue to investigate supply chain demands to determine additional locations for terminal development within the Cando network, as well as look at expanding existing terminals, based on demand for railcar capacity and value-added services for our clients.

What makes your company proud to be part of the Canadian rail ecosystem?

Many of our employees have worked in the rail industry their entire lives. Our people know how important the safe, efficient movement of goods is and they are proud to be a part of that. Our people also know what makes a supply chain more efficient and are proud to solve problems for our clients every day.

What do we as a trading nation need to get right over the coming years to ensure we make the most of our resources and economic opportunities?

We need to work together. Collaboration and meaningful partnerships will be key.