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CSX Partners with Nutrien to Improve Asset Utilization and Reduce GHG Emissions

December 8, 2023 - A Nutrien distribution warehouse in Baltimore has proven to be fertile ground for innovation that is improving efficiency and asset utilization for both CSX and the customer.

The CSX Sales and Marketing team worked with Nutrien, a major global producer and distributor of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products for agriculture and industrial use, to design a solution that is reducing car handlings and congestion at the terminal.

Nutrien’s Baltimore warehouse, located within the CSX Curtis Bay coal pier, handles two products. It receives potash by rail from a domestic distribution site and transports it by truck to local consumption points. It also receives imported urea at the warehouse and loads it onto railcars for domestic distribution.

In each case, CSX had two touch points for the Nutrien cars: for potash, bringing in loads and returning empties, and for urea, bringing in empties and taking out loads. This contributed to congestion at the local yard during heavy fertilizer seasons and created challenges in juggling inbound potash and outbound urea.

To improve efficiency, the Sales and Marketing team worked with Nutrien on an innovative solution that has balanced the traffic flow and reduced the need to move empty cars to and from the location.

Nutrien now cleans the inbound potash cars after they are unloaded and reloads them with outbound urea. To make it work, Nutrien moves the cars for cleaning within the site using a railcar mover and receives compensation from CSX’s for the cost of doing so. The elimination of empty car miles more than offsets the cost for CSX, while Nutrien benefits from improved return on investment in its shipper-owned fleet and freed up capacity.

The companies are now looking at other Nutrien sites where a similar solution could be implemented.

Elan Strueby, Nutrien’s Vice President of Transportation, Distribution and Logistics, commented, “Nutrien’s supply chain is complex, moving more than 27 million tons of potash, phosphate and nitrogen products worldwide, and as such we’re always looking for new ways to collaborate with our strategic business partners to develop innovative solutions like this to help us more efficiently get our customers the products they need, where and when then need them.”

“This has been a very successful project for both companies and would not have been possible without the cooperation and expertise of Market Managers Tom Dumphy and Jonte Baker, as well as Nutrien’s willingness to explore our out-of-the-box solution,” said Jim Borgers, CSX Senior Sales Manager-Fertilizers.

“The Nutrien solution is a great example of CSX’s commitment to asset utilization and increasing efficiency,” noted Torri Stuckey, head of Merchandise Sales and Marketing. “By creating a better balance of service to Baltimore, we have improved the supply chain in a way that’s contributing to a more fluid network with more capacity to generate new business.”