The majority of Canpotex’s potash moves in unit trains west, from mine sites in Saskatchewan through to port facilities in Vancouver, British Columbia and Portland, Oregon, a journey of approximately 2,000 kilometres. A smaller portion of our potash is transported east to Thunder Bay, Ontario for shipment through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway or to the terminal facility in Saint John, New Brunswick, a 4,300 kilometre trip.
Each year, our Canpotex trains make approximately 650 trips to these ports, carrying over 10 million tonnes of potash through Canada’s rugged landscape and extreme weather conditions. Our longest trains are up to 205 railcars in length and can carry approximately 21,200 tonnes of potash.
Canpotex operates unique and custom railcars. Originally we used grain railcars to transport potash; however, in 1999 we worked with National Steel Car in Hamilton, Ontario to build a railcar that was specifically designed to manage the dense properties of potash. As a result, a new potash-specific railcar was developed which has enabled us to double the amount of potash transported by rail without adding any extra train trips on Canadian rail lines.
Since this innovative improvement to our inland operations, we have commissioned 7,000 railcars with National Steel Car, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the Canadian economy.