Partnership enables Okanagan wood pellets company to ship in bulk, reducing freight costs
An Okanagan wood pellets manufacturer has found an innovative way to reduce transportation costs to a major biomass market in the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Viridis Energy has partnered with the Grafton Upton Railroad, a short line railroad in east-central Massachusetts, and Dana Transport of New Jersey to ship its biomass Okanagan wood pellets in bulk to the Grafton Upton Dana Transport facility in central Massachusetts for final bagging and distribution to the New England states.
The result, according to Viridis CEO Christopher Robertson, is a more cost-efficient process, while also eliminating losses due to damaged packages en route.
Viridis, with operations in Kelowna and Kamloops, annually ships approximately 25,000 tons of its Okanagan wood pellets to New England. The product was packaged in forty pound, heavy duty plastic bags ready for sale.
Transporting the biomass products in its finished state led to inefficient use of freight car capacity and exposed the cargo to damage. Shipping wood pellets in bulk utilizes maximum capacity of the freight cars and results in no waste due to torn plastic bags, since bagging will occur close to final destination, says Robertson.
The Grafton Upton Dana Transport facility located in Upton, MA is equipped with a complete bagging operation, enabling Viridis to cost effectively ship bulk products, while bagging at a cost similar to its own operation.
“In an industry measured by volume, cost efficiencies are essential to maximize competitiveness and profitability,” said Robertson. “Transferring the packaging of our bulk wood pellets to Dana Transport not only reduces freight and spoilage cost, but also has a positive impact on our plant’s production capacity.”
Robertson says the company is gearing up for the significant growth of biomass power production expected over the next decade.
“Viridis needs to focus on building capacity and efficiencies to successfully grow with the market. We are exploring several opportunities that will expand the company’s production capabilities and market share, in North America and overseas,” said Robertson.
“The location of this facility in Massachusetts provides Viridis with advantages access to rail and truck routes, while the state-of-the-art facilities will ensure product quality and cost efficient bagging,” says Dana Transport founder and CEO Ron Dana. “Viridis will realize lower freight costs and avoid losses due to package damage that normally occurs in freight. We all look forward to developing a mutually beneficial alliance with Virids.”