Sand is being shipped on North American railways in staggering numbers thanks to the oil and shale gas boom that has revolutionized domestic energy in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing sites demand sand by the millions of tons and it’s being delivered in an increasingly efficient manner by companies capitalizing on the boom.

Sand mining companies large and small are using vast railroad distribution networks to deliver their product across the U.S. and Canada. A new Canadian National Railway frac-sand transload facility opened this month in Alberta. The facility is designed to handle 45 rail cars and has two 2,000-ton sand silos.

Four more silos are being built at the location in Sexsmith, Alberta, which will allow the facility to accommodate 12,000 tons of sand by early summer.

The new enhanced rail network provides Wisconsin based frac sand companies efficient routes to and from areas flush with shale oil and gas deposits. Frac sand shipments in the U.S. have quadrupled since 2007 according to the Freedonia Group, a market researcher based in Cleveland.

By 2022 demand for frac sand is expected to reach 52.1 million tons, twice what it is today. Sand is the key material used in the hydraulic fracturing process, a practice making the U.S. energy independent.

Sand mining companies are increasingly being asked by customers for help with logistics. The industry has responded with a network of sand storage and load sites across the country. Companies are building their mines near rail facilities designed to handle only one type of precious cargo.

AllEnergy Sand is a company with proposed operations in sand rich west central Wisconsin. The company has its own plan to minimize the costs associated with material handling by using a non-trucking model.

The AllEnergy Sand processing facility is connected directly to CNfor shipping anywhere in North America. The company plans on saving $10,000,000 annually in shipping costs with their conveyor to rail logistical model.

$1,000,000 of those savings have been pledged back to Trempealeau County by AllEnergy Sand said founder Dean Sukowatey.

“We’ve removed 100% of the expense of using a truck fleet to move raw material from our mine to processing. We use an efficient one-mile conveyor, which not only is cleaner, but helps improve neighbor relations through reduced traffic and air pollution,” says Sukowatey.

Sand only facilities,like the one in Alberta off-load cargo quickly, allowing a train load to make the round trip faster than ever. The basic material means everything to the future of natural gas and oil.The economy is responding by working smarter with superior logistics.

The fine silica of North America has impacted the American economy on a large scale. The biggest railroad companies in the country are seeing the difference.

Union Pacific COO Jack Koraleski told Bloomberg, “In regards to the economical impact sand has on the railroad industry the whole shale development for us is great. We move so much frac sand and so much pipe, that’s really our key franchise strength.”

Logistics will play an integral role in the future of domestic energy. Moving product from point A to point B something not as simple as it sounds. Intelligent minds are finding solutions as companies like AllEnergy Sand map the most efficient, least intrusive way of delivering sand to key sites across North America.


Click here to learn more about the AllEnergy Sand conveyor to rail delivery system.