Could Philadelphia Become 'Cushing East'?
"A lot of people come into Philadelphia and fall flat on their face," said Johnson "For us, it was finding the right partner. Enbridge is operator and builder, and we wanted someone who didn't just want a 'quick flip' but wanted to do it first-class, who wanted to be here a long time."
Bakken crude shipments to Philadelphia will originate at Enbridge's Berthold terminal, which abuts BNSF Railway's mainline railroad. Johnson was quick to point out the terminal will actually be accessible via four other railroads in addition to BNSF.
"Philadelphia is not a one-railroad town," he said. "We have competitive railroad access."
Philadelphia lies within the Conrail Shared Assets Operations service area, which provides shippers access to the region by way of the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroads, Johnson said. In addition, shipments on the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railroads can be directed eastbound onto the Conrail system at Chicago.
"The capacity on the railroad is there," said Johnson, adding that the former Exelon power plant received regular coal shipments for more than five decades. "You're looking to replace volume and it's there."
Rail lines between Chicago and Philadelphia are well-equipped to manage system congestion because unit trains can be parked at various areas along the route to ease traffic delays, Holran pointed out.
"You have to have the ability to deal with that train" if it becomes too congested, Holran said. "The Chicago-to-Philadelphia runs are well-mapped out."
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