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Rail Roundup: Lineage, Patriot make acquisitions; CP, CN set records

Acquisitions and Canadian grain railcar loadings in the spotlight

Lineage Logistics has acquired refrigerated railcar producer Cryo-Trans. (Warehouse photo: Lineage Logistics)

From acquisition updates to grain loadings, here’s a roundup of some recent rail-related news:

Lineage acquires refrigerated railcar producer

Lineage Logistics, a Michigan-based temperature-controlled real estate investment trust and logistics solutions provider, has acquired Maryland-based Cryo-Trans, a producer of refrigerated and insulated railcars.

Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed, but Lineage said the acquisition “creates a unique comprehensive and seamlessly integrated supply chain solution for food and beverage customers.” 

“Welcoming the dynamic team from Cryo-Trans further diversifies Lineage’s comprehensive suite of multimodal services and creates a unique, under-one-roof solution for our customers in which warehousing and transportation are seamlessly integrated,” Lineage President and CEO Greg Lehmkuhl said. “Combining our leading facility footprint, a railcar network and data-driven transportation management systems enables us to further optimize freight, create greater efficiencies, generate unprecedented supply chain visibility and provide a new ease of doing business for our customers.”

Lineage’s network comprises nearly 2 billion cubic feet of capacity and consists of 330 temperature-controlled warehouses in 15 countries across North America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and South America. 

The company also provides less-than-truckload consolidation, managed transportation, on-demand transport, port logistics, customs brokerage, import/export, drayage, last-mile delivery and related value-added services.

Meanwhile, Cryo-Trans’ private fleet consists of over 2,200 refrigerated and insulated railcars that make more than 40,000 rail shipments annually. Cryo-Trans also offers a proprietary rail management program that provides real-time information and visibility on its railcars.

“We are honored to bring our rail experience and premium railcars to the world’s leading temperature-controlled logistics company,” Cryo-Trans CEO Herman Haksteen said. “Together we will continue to execute on the Cryo-Trans mission of ‘protecting today’s perishables for tomorrow,’ and we are excited to join Lineage in living their purpose to transform the food supply chain by introducing a new, one-of-a-kind, end-to-end supply chain solution to the industry.”

The acquisition’s advisory team for Lineage consists of financing firm J.P. Morgan and legal firm Latham & Watkins, while DLA Piper is serving as a legal adviser for Cryo-Trans.

Related articles:

Webinar: Turvo-Charging the Customer Experience: How Lineage Logistics Is Transforming the Supply Chain

Lineage stretches cold storage footprint to Poland

Lineage Logistics expands network with multiple cold storage deals

Patriot Rail finalizes acquisition of Utah short line

Short line operator and port logistics provider Patriot Rail has finalized its acquisition of the Salt Lake Garfield & Western Railway (SLGW) short line in Utah.

As part of the deal, Jacksonville, Florida-based Patriot acquires SLGW and two storage and transload service providers, Caballero and Caballero 2.

Patriot itself was acquired by infrastructure investment firm First Sentier Investors in October 2019. 

SLGW runs 26 miles and handles more than 6,000 loaded railcars annually. Located near Salt Lake City, the short line has access to Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP), BNSF (NYSE: BRK) and the Salt Lake International Airport.

“The SLGW has been a long-trusted railroad in the Salt Lake City area for more than 125 years. We are proud to carry that legacy forward for our customers,” said Patriot CEO John Fenton. “This addition to the Patriot portfolio strengthens our ability to continue providing competitive and innovative transportation solutions in the western region of the United States.”

Related article: Patriot Rail acquires Salt Lake City short line operator

CN, Canadian Pacific reach new records for grain

A Canadian Pacific train heads to its next destination. (Train Photo: Flickr/Birmingham Photographer J.g.)

Significant investments to the Canadian rail network, plus ample harvests and continued export demand, helped Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP) and CN (NYSE: CNI) set records for grain movements. 

CN said Monday that December was a record month for the railway, making it the 10th month in a row that the company has posted a monthly record. In December, CN moved over 2.84 million metric tonnes (MMT) of Canadian grain and processed grain. Since the 2020-21 crop year began on Aug. 1, CN has moved 14.5 MMT, exceeding the all-time record pace volume by over 15%, or by nearly 2 MMT.

“These record grain shipments are coming at the same time as CN is shipping very high volumes of many other commodities such as lumber, potash, propane and consumer goods,” said CN Chief Operating Officer Rob Reilly. “While we are proud of December’s results, we do not take them for granted and we will continue to work hard to safely move our customers’ goods.”

Meanwhile, competitor CP said it experienced not only the best-ever December for grain movements but also the best-ever quarter and best-ever year.

CP hauled 31.32 MMT of Canadian grain products in 2020. It also moved 8.84 MMT in the fourth quarter, beating the previous record set in the second quarter of 2020 by 5.1%. And in December, it moved 2.84 MMT, beating the previous record set in December 2019 by 13.6%.

Indeed, grain carloads was one of only two categories that have seen a year-over-year increase for year-to-date volumes, according to data from the Association of American Railroads. For the week ending Dec. 26, the Canadian railways moved 490,921 carloads of grain year-to-date. 

In comparison, U.S. grain carloads year-to-date totaled nearly 1.17 million carloads, a 4.5% increase from the same period in 2019.

The other category that experienced a year-over-year increase in Canada was farm products, excluding grain, and food. Year-to-date volume for that category was 430,467 carloads, up 11.7% from 2019.

Related articles:

Exports boost US and Canadian grain volumes

Winter weather, COVID-19, trade uncertainties factor into Canadian railways’ operational plans

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Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.