In 2015, Drax Biomass commissioned a facility in Bastrop, Louisiana, along Genesee & Wyoming’s Arkansas Louisiana & Mississippi Railroad (ALM) to manufacture wood pellets for use as an alternative fuel source in the United Kingdom. ALM is strategically located in the heart of the nation’s premier wood basket, which enables Drax to maximize its use of the area’s natural resources. From 2013-2014, ALM and Genesee & Wyoming’s Rail Link, Inc. subsidiary worked with Union Pacific (UP) to create rail-to-port transportation services for Drax.
- ALM traverses the newly renovated and leased line for interchange with UP at Collinston, Louisiana.
- There, UP operates the trains to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, where Rail Link provides the port’s rail services.
- Rail Link manages the train through the port terminal, where shipments of wood pellets are eventually loaded onto vessels for voyage to the United Kingdom.
Significant investments made by ALM, Port of Greater Baton Rouge and UP came to fruition in June 2015, when the plant began commercial operation.
- The wood-pellet facility has capacity to create 450,000 tons per year.
- Current production levels are sustaining a 45-cart unit train approximately once a week, with the long-term goal of increasing to an 80-car unit train once per week.
- The project created more than 60 jobs in Louisiana.
- Since the June 2015 startup, more than 1,200 cars have run from Drax to the port.
This project served as the culmination of tremendous effort and synergy from ALM, Rail Link, UP, Drax and the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.