Tafisa Panel Plant Shipping Hobbled by Trainwreck

By Bill Esler | Posted: 07/16/2013 9:14PM


Tafisa thermofused melamine plant Quebec LAC-MEGANTIC, QUEBEC - Shipping from Tafisa's large thermofused melamine panel plant here was temporarily hobbled by the massive and deadly July 6  oil train wreck.

The Montreal Gazette reports that the MM&A Railway oil train explosion, which took 50 lives and leveled the downtown, blocked access to a rail spur by the 650,000-square-foot Tafisa panel plant. Ordinarily 50 to 60 carloads of melamine panel were shipped by rail from the plant, just east of the site of the explosion. Tafisa, a unit of Sonae Industria of Portugal, opened the plant in 1992.

Tafisa thermofused melamine plant QuebecThe giant plant has more than 80 drying drums. For a period the plant shipped panel products by truck to Drummondville, where they were transferred to rail for shipping throughout North America. While one customer told the local Gazzette the added expense for trucking increased prices, President Louis Brassard issued a statement that said the impact would be minimal.

Customers situated in Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes, the U.S. Northeast and parts of the U.S. Midwest are serviced by truck. The interruption of rail service does not in any way impact these markets. As indicated above, shipments to these markets have been resumed on July 9 and it has been business as usual since that date. The vast majority of Tafisa products shipped by rail are bound for markets in the US Midwest, the U.S. Southeast and Western Canada. These products represent 30% of our total production. Our logistics group is developing a model to enable Tafisa to continue to ship by rail to these markets via reload centres. We are confident that there should be no impact on our service levels going forward.

Canadian transportation authorities were weighing underwriting costs until the 72 derailed cars can be removed and the rail line was restored, the Gazzette reported.

click image to zoomTafisa melamine plant Tafisa Canada employs 300 at the plant, which it describes as “the largest, most modern particleboard and thermofused melamine production facility in North America.” In April of 2006, Tafisa's plant was jolted by an explosion and fire that crippled its wood panel manufacturing capabilities. Less than two years later, Tafisa returned to full production. Tafisa celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.

click image to zoomFlames frame a train car at the July 7 fatal explosion in Lac-Magantic in a still pulled from a video shot by an eyewitness. Eyewitness Adrian Aubert posted the video below, which captures his surprised reaction to a secondary explosion on July 6, 2013.


About the Author

Bill Esler, Woodworking Network, WMS

Bill Esler

Bill Esler, Editorial Director, Woodworking Network Bill is responsible for overall content at WoodworkingNetwork.com Woodworking Network magazine, and related newsletters. Bill also manages event programs for Woodworking Network Live conferences at the Woodworking Machinery & Supplies Expo in Toronto and Cabinets & Closets Expo. He developing audience engagement programs using custom digital printing, live lead-generating events, custom websites, and custom digital and print content. Read Bill Esler's woodworking blogs. He can be reached at besler@woodworkingnetwork.com or follow him on Google+.

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Canada  |  July, 25, 2013 at 01:07 PM

Grammar checker must have had the day off today.


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