“Businesses haven’t recognized how easy using rail can be. We’re changing that.”Dean Piacente- OmniTRAX Chief Executive Officer
Broe’s transportation affiliate, OmniTRAX, Inc., is the second-largest private management company of short-line railroads in North America. But its expertise is more than just that.
It’s about simplifying the entire process of shipping by rail. OmniTRAX adds logistics support and leading-edge technology to its basic rail service, so that shipping door-to-door or through ports is as easy as a phone call away, even for customers not adjacent to a rail line.
And for customers exploring industrial development near a track, OmniTRAX helps with every phase of that operation as well. OmniTRAX is a complete shipping partner, using railroads, ports, transloading, logistics, warehousing, and industrial development to help businesses move their products conveniently and efficiently, whether their final destination is across the city or across the world. Learn much more at omnitrax.com >
Our Railroads, Terminals and Ports Include:
2014: Port of Brownsville
Accelerating America’s Industrial Renaissance
On the southernmost tip of Texas, at the port of Brownsville, rails and roads and a ready workforce converge. Nearby, thousands of acres of Texas land stand ready for industrial development, while expanded drilling in Mexico’s adjacent Burgos Basin shale formation waits only on the proper energy expertise.
- A 30-year lease and strategic partnership for OmniTRAX to manage the local short-line railroad.
- Aggressive development of rail-corridor industries, modeling operational best practices from Windsor, Colorado’s Great Western Industrial Park.
The Broe Group and OmniTRAX to develop 1,200 acres for a world-class industrial park. Target opportunities include light and heavy manufacturing, logistics, energy services, technology development and export/import warehousing.
DOOR TO DOOR
2012: Halliburton’s Sand Terminal at Great Western Industrial Park
Door to Door
In Colorado’s Denver-Julesburg basin, over a mile underground, lies a rich field of Niobrara shale. But cracking it open calls for a high-pressure slurry of a trillion grains of quartz, premium crystals mined from the purest sandstone—900 miles away, at Illinois’ St. Peter sandstone formation.
Next to OmniTRAX’s Illinois Railway.
- Short-line rail for the first and last miles.
- Money-saving 100-car unit trains.
- The world’s largest dedicated frac sand transfer terminal, where each rail car empties in six minutes—twice as fast as at most other facilities.
500 jobs in northern Colorado, and more of the best sand where it’s needed most.
1997: Port of Churchill
In Manitoba, the Hudson Bay Railway ran 810 miles north to Churchill, a remote city on the western shore of Hudson Bay, Canada’s principal seaport on the Arctic Ocean.
Population: 813 humans and 940 polar bears. And one port, an underused gateway to world markets for Canada’s abundant wheat.
- Purchasing both the Port of Churchill and the Hudson Bay Railway.
- The resolve and diplomacy to unite multiple public, private, and sovereign constituencies in a common solution.
- Consolidated operation of rail and port under one coordinated enterprise.
- Aggressive marketing of the port to newly opening polar routes to Asia and Europe.
New worldwide markets for Canadian grain, and revived access to the expanding Northwest Passage sea route.
1992: 1000 Miles of Kansas Rail
In the early 90s, Class I operators like the Santa Fe were trying to shed light-density lines. When Broe learned that their contracted buyer for 1000 miles of the Central Kansas Railway couldn’t complete the financing, he knew the window to act was short.
Three Broe executives were at the Santa Fe headquarters the next day, ready to buy.
- Acting decisively: initial meeting to acquisition in 41 days.
- Viewing railroads as an engine for growth by winnowing unproductive branches.
- Increased development, especially of wheat transport, along a remaining core set of rail lines.
Profitable operation for almost a decade, then a sale nine years after acquisition for $33 million, three times the purchase price.
Building Something Bigger
Red ink everywhere.
When Chicago West Pullman Transportation Company’s major customer shut down, their six rail lines, spanning 800 miles across America’s Midwest, headed for default. CWPT’s owner needed an exit.
Pat Broe thought, “What can we build out of this?”
- Extensive industry research to recognize a seller needing immediate rescue.
- Experience cutting rail costs by 50% with lighter cars, intermodal freight, and time-definite service.
- The entrepreneurial acumen to sell one line the day after closing.
Managing seven railroads (with thirteen more to follow, and counting) called for a common brand. OmniTRAX, that new corporate flag, is now North America’s second-largest private railroad and transportation services company.