When the Co-op Refinery Complex needed to improve railcar movement, they asked Cando Rail & Terminals to build a solution.

Our solution: To design, build, finance, and operate a dedicated customer staging and storage yard.

“We’re able to control our day-to-day operations more efficiently and execute according to plan because of the holding yard and the spotting and pulling service,” says Craig Kezama, Petroleum Distribution Services Manager for Co-op. “Cando brings a much more efficient use of our rail obligation, both inbound and outbound.”

The Opportunity

The Co-op Refinery Complex (CRC) in Regina, SK, owned by Federated Co-operatives Limited, had just finished a $2.8 billion expansion that increased the overall refinery output by 40,000 barrels of gasoline and diesel a day. CRC needed to improve the refinery’s rail service by increasing efficiency, reducing demurrage costs, and taking advantage of additional refinery output. It also needed a place to stage railcars, especially during downturns in the global economy.

CRC turned to Cando Rail & Terminals to build a customized solution that would improve efficiency, reduce costs, and maximize production.

The Solution

Cando Rail & Terminals designed, built, and financed and now operate and maintain a dedicated railcar staging terminal near the existing CRC site. We were already integrated within CRC’s operations, providing railcar switching, track inspection and maintenance, and mobile transloading services, so we knew where the opportunities were. We took an innovative and customized approach to creating the staging facility to meet all the CRC’s needs.

As part of the design, development, and building process we secured the land near the refinery, worked with CN to secure running rights on its track, and built a locomotive shed to support repairs and minimize winter idling.

Cando also helped CRC implement a new railcar inventory management system to improve even more on operational efficiency and railcar visibility.

The Impact

Cando Rail & Terminals helped CRC gain efficiencies by building an integrated service solution including a staging yard and on-demand 24-hour switching services creating production certainty by ensuring railcars are effectively available for loading. The integrated solution also reduces the need for additional capital expenditures by allowing CRC to turn their loading/unloading infrastructure more often.

Located just two miles from the refinery, the terminal has space to stage up to 250 railcars and is immediately adjacent to three CN tracks used to interchange traffic between CN and the refinery. The terminal significantly reduces demurrage charges for CRC and provides an important buffer supply of cars to ensure racks can be kept full when inbound empties are delayed.

With the increase in annual railcar movements at the refinery, CRC has been able to manage costs and gain efficiencies by Cando Rail & Terminals providing staging and switching services, track inspection and maintenance services, as well as support from mobile transloading services. Since Cando started, the CRC is shipping 35-40 per cent more annual volumes of railcars. And most importantly, having Cando on site means it is being done safely; there have been zero lost time injuries since Cando started in 2013.

Cando has become an integral part of CRC’s Business Continuity Plan. In 2020, Cando’s flexibility and resources helped CRC not only to operate through the labour disruption, energy market downturn, and pandemic, but actually helped to improve overall rail operations

Creating a Partnership

A Timeline of Our Work With Co-op Refinery Complex


  • Switching start-up – September 2013

8 employees, 2 GP9 locomotives, 88 hours/week of switching service.

  • Transloading start-up – October 2013

2 additional seasonal employees.

  • Track repair & maintenance start-up – March 2014

Added an embedded track repair & maintenance crew.

  • Victoria Plains Terminal – opened December 2014

Designed, built, financed, operated & maintained by Cando.

  • Cando’s service today

22 employees, 3 GP38 locomotives, 164 hours per week of switching service, track maintenance, and seasonal transload.