Rail delays prompt Hibbing Taconite to haul pellets by truck

Iron Range newsLast week we talked about how rail delays were causing huge stockpiles of iron ore at Iron Range taconite mines. This afternoon it was announced that Hibbing Taconite, a Cliffs Natural Resources mine, has made the rather bold decision to begin hauling its pellets by truck to the Twin Ports.

From the press release:

HIBBING, MN – October 10, 2014 – Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) announced today that due to ongoing insufficient rail service Hibbing Taconite will immediately begin utilizing trucks to transport iron ore pellets to the Duluth-Superior Harbor. This action will ensure its steelmaking customers on the lower Great Lakes will have an adequate supply of pellets to maintain steelmaking operations.

Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cliffs stated, “I am optimistic that the recent dialogue with rail carriers that service Hibbing Taconite and other iron ore operations will help improve movement of iron ore pellets from Northeastern Minnesota. Cliffs’ local management team recognizes that the additional truck traffic may impact the local community members who live and travel along the truck route. We appreciate the community’s patience as we implement this short-term solution to transport our product.”

While efforts are underway to secure improved rail service and address the backlog of pellets at Hibbing Taconite and other taconite operations affected by rail service problems, Cliffs needs to take immediate steps to fulfill its commitment to supply iron ore pellets to its customers.

The trucks will be loaded at Hibbing Taconite and transported on Highway 169 North, Highway 5 South, and Highway 37 East to Highway 53 South. The trucks will then utilize two routes to deliver pellets to the Allouez Dock in Superior, Wisconsin; 1) the Blatnik Bridge to Highways 13 and A and 2) Midway Road and Highway 23 to the South end of Superior. Hibbing Taconite will load approximately 100 trucks per day, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The trucks will be utilized to transport iron ore pellets from Hibbing Taconite for approximately two months, but the schedule may be extended if rail service problems persist in Northeastern Minnesota.


  1. WTH?

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