Plymouth Energy expanding rail storage
LE MARS – What is now a vacant lot in the Le Mars Industrial Park has been earmarked for a new $3.5 million rail storage site for Plymouth Energy.
The project, which company managers said symbolizes the Merrill-based ethanol plant’s ongoing commitment to ethanol’s importance as a renewable fuel, is set for completion during the fourth quarter of 2015.
James Henry, Plymouth Energy’s project director, said the storage facility will occupy a 6.16-acre site at the southern edge of Le Mars.
The new storage site, north of 27th STreet, is located east of what is now the Le Mars industrial lead track, according to Henry.
He also noted the city’s recent decision to bring in Burlington Junction Railway to operate rail lines in the industrial park.
“This was instrumental in our decision to select Le Mars as the new storage site,” Henry said. “Burlington Junction has shown its ability to provide the customer service and expertise crucial in our ironing out all the commercial and technical obstacles facing this project.”
“We feel the city made an excellent choice in railroad vendors,” he added.
The site will include a siding for approximately 30 rail cars, a 300,000-gallon ethanol storage tank, an ethanol rail car loading package and ethanol semi-trailer truck off-loading area.
The site will also include a 600-square foot masonry slab for an operations center, which includes ingress and egress truck access and employee parking.
Adding rail car volume to the line serving the industrial park will benefit all rail service users, Henry said, adding that “ethanol produced in Iowa benefits from an excellent transportation infrastructure, abundant raw materials and cost-effective utilities.”
“Being able to market and sell locally-produced ethanol made with locally-grown corn across the country benefits all parties,” he said. “The ethanol market is very competitive.”
Plymouth Energy expects to have ethanol trucked in from the Merrill bio-refinery, transferred to an on-site storage tank and loaded onto rail tank cars.
“This project will enable ethanol products produced at the Merrill site to be marketed and sold in areas of the country not currently available with our current rail structure,” Henry said.
Eamonn Byrne, Plymouth Energy chief executive officer, agreed.
“The big advantage for Plymouth Energy,” Byrne said, “is access to the mainline Canadian National Railroad which opens new markets to the north and, in particular, the Chicago market.”
Byrne added that “it will allow us greater flexibility as to where we sell our ethanol, resulting in better net back to the plant for ethanol ultimately greater profitability.”
He said the Renewable Fuels Standard elevated agriculture and home-grown renewable energy “to its rightful place at the center stage of our economy and our national security.”
“The (ethanol) industry generates high-paying, sustainable jobs in rural America,” Byrne said, “and the Le Mars project is a direct result of this successful policy.”
Neil Adler, executive director of the Le Mars Business Initiative Cooperation, said this project is the result of a long-term partnership between the LBIC and Plymouth Energy.
“The LBIC has a history of assisting businesses by developing an environment conducive to continued business growth,” Adler said. “This relationship will provide new opportunities for Plymouth Energy while at the same time allowing us to further develop the transportation infrastructure in the Le Mars Industrial Park.”
“This is a positive step for both Plymouth Energy and the LBIC,” he added.
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