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VIDEO: Verona, N.D., shuttle site up and running

VERONA, N.D. -- The Verona, N.D., shuttle-loading terminal for James Valley Grain LLC is up and running after earlier delays involving freight rates.

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Photo by Mikkel Pates, Agweek

VERONA, N.D. - The Verona, N.D., shuttle-loading terminal for James Valley Grain LLC is up and running after earlier delays involving freight rates.

Eric Larson, general manager of the farmer-owned cooperative, says the $28 million site started operations on June 29, and will load its first shuttle train on July 19. The site includes a 120-car, fast-loading circle track.
“We were full in less than 10 days,” Larson says. “We’re dumping 190 to 195 per day. It’s crazy. We’ve had new customers. Unbelievable.”
The facility holds 3 million bushels in storage. It can load a shuttle train with corn or soybeans at a rate of 80,000 bushels an hour - filling a train in six to eight hours. On the incoming side, it can dump 60,000 bushels an hour from trucks.
The Red River Valley and Western Railroad picks up a BNSF shuttle train in Casselton, N.D. The RRVW brings them down the so-called Davenport-Lisbon line, which received a $17 million upgrade that was completed in September 2015. The line handles sites in Edgeley, as well as Oakes and Verona.
In August 2013, Agweek reported a dispute that railroads had blocked the Verona site from getting expected service. James Valley Grain had torn down a small elevator, hoped to replace it with the shuttle loader, and had invested $4 million into improvements, but waited two years without a solution.
BNSF had denied a so-called “through-rate” - a single transportation rate on an interline haul, made up of two or more separately established rates. BNSF offered only a rate to Pacific Northwest from Casselton, which would have made the shipments uneconomic.
RRVW and James Valley Grain had been talking about the Verona site since October 2011. BNSF and RRVW came to an agreement on the shuttle rate in July 2014, in part because of efforts by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and John Hoeven, R-N.D.

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