Why did a Train Carrying Biofuel Cross the Border 24 Times and Never Unload?
By James Burgess |
January 1, 2013
A cargo train filled with biofuels crossed the border between the US and Canada 24 times between the 15th of June and the 28th of June 2010; not once did it unload its cargo, yet it still earned millions of dollars. CBC News of Canada was the first to pick up on this story on the 3rd of December 2012, and began their own investigation into the possible explanations behind this odd behaviour.
CN Rail, the operator of the train, stated their innocence in the matter as they had only “received shipping directions from the customer, which, under law, it has an obligation to meet. CN discharged its obligations with respect to those movements in strict compliance with its obligations as a common carrier, and was compensated accordingly.” Even so, they still managed to earn C$2.6 million in shipping fees.
During their investigation CBC managed to obtain an internal email which stated that the cars of the train were all reconfigured between each trip but that the cargo was never actually unloaded, because “each move per car across the border is revenue generated”, the sale of the cargo itself was inconsequential.
The cargo of the train was owned by Bioversal Trading Inc., or its US partner Verdero, depending on what stage of the trip it was at. The companies “made several million dollars importing and exporting the fuel to exploit a loophole in a U.S. green energy program.” Each time the loaded train crossed the border the cargo earned its owner a certain amount of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs), which were awarded by the US EPA to “promote and track production and importation of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.” The RINs were supposed to be retired each time the shipment passed the border, but due to a glitch not all of them were. This enabled Bioversal to accumulate over 12 million RINs from the 24 trips, worth between 50 cents and $1 each, which they can then sell on to oil companies that haven’t met the EPA’s renewable fuel requirements.
Both the Canada Border Services Agency and the US EPA have launched investigations into the possibility of fraud, although the companies claim that the practice was totally legal.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
Biofuel firm linked to fraud probe is in line for $65-million Ottawa grant
November 21, 2012
by DANIEL LEBLANC
The federal government will give $65-million in subsidies to a company that is set to become the biggest producer of biodiesel in the country, but which is linked to companies being investigated for a series of fraudulent shipments of American fuel to Europe.
Canadian and European officials are investigating more than $100-million in fuel trades that went from the U.S. into Canada, before being shipped to Romania and other European countries. According to search warrants, Toronto-based Bioversel Trading Inc. and a related firm called Spectrum Chemicals Inc. circumvented anti-dumping duties on American biodiesel by pretending to be exporting Canadian biodiesel.
The Canada Border Services Agency raided in May the Toronto offices of Bioversel Trading, which also house the offices of Great Lakes Biodiesel Inc., government records show.
It is Great Lakes Biodiesel that is building Canada’s biggest biodiesel plant in Welland, Ont., and will receive up to $65.4-million in production incentives from a federal program called ecoENERGY for Biofuels – a $1.5-billion fund for ethanol and biodiesel producers.
The contract with Great Lakes Biodiesel and the investigation into Bioversal Trading may draw unwelcome attention to the Harper government’s funding for green programs, which has had its share of controversies.
According to the CBSA search warrants, the shipments from Bioversel Trading started after the European Union imposed anti-dumping duties against biodiesel of American origin in March, 2009. Canadian exports of biodiesel to Europe rose sharply to 123,000 metric tonnes after the tariffs were imposed in 2009, up from only 1,700 metric tonnes in all of 2008.
From March, 2009, to August, 2010, Bioversel Trading exported 110,000 metric tonnes of biodiesel to Europe from the port in Quebec City. The 17 shipments were allegedly made in contravention of provisions in the Customs Act on the origin of the exported product, court records say.
CBSA and EU anti-fraud investigators allege the products that were exported by Bioversel Trading originated in large part from Lake Erie Biofuels LLC, based in Pennsylvania, and other American producers.
Another search warrant alleges that Spectrum Chemicals exported biodiesel in 2011 and 2012 that was labeled as fatty acids, a product exempt from anti-dumping duties.
Bill Gates becomes Canadian National Rail’s (CN Rail) largest shareholder with 12 % stake news
13 December 2012
US billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates has boosted his stake in Canadian National Railway Co (CN) to approximately 12 per cent by acquiring additional 13,670 shares of the company for $1.25 million, thus becoming the rail operator’s largest shareholder.
Bill Gate’s investment firm Cascade Investments LLC bought the additional shares of CN bringing up its stake to 10 per cent.
Besides, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, also controlled by Bill Gates, owns about 2 per cent in CN or 8.6 million shares.
Together, Gates and the foundation control about 12 per cent of CN or 51.7 million of the company’s outstanding shares worth around $4.7 billion based on Tuesday’s closing price of $90.36 per CNR share on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The stake increase brings Gates closer to the 15-per cent limit stipulated by the government for any one investor.
Kirkland, Washington-based Cascade is the successor company to Dominion Income Management, the former investment vehicle for Gates’ holdings.
The company has diverse investments in several companies including Berkshire Hathaway, John Deere, Coca-Cola, Cox Communications, Microsoft, Four Season’s Hotels and Resorts, Newport News Shipbuilding, Pan American Silver Corp, Sapphire Energy, Waste Management Inc, etc.
Montreal-based CNR is a leader in the North American rail transport industry. Over the past, the company had expanded its network through the acquisition of rail networks of Illinois Central in 1999, Wisconsin Central in 2001 and Great Lakes Transportation in 2004 besides having a partnership agreement with British Columbia Railway, provides shippers with more options and greater reach in the rapidly expanding North-South trade.
CNR crosses the North American continent east-west and north-south, serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts.
The railways move diversified goods including petroleum and chemicals, grain and fertilisers, coal, metals and minerals, forest products, intermodal and automotive products.
Obama Attacks Speculators and Oil Companies for High Gas Prices; Digging Deeper We Find Crony Capitalism (George Soros and Warren Buffett) and Obama Failed Policies
Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Railroad
What prompted the president to turn the lights out on what critics argue would have been an environmentally-sound, job-boosting, oil-producing project that would benefit the nation and preserve the financially beneficial Canadian-U.S. oil relationship? What does President Obama have to gain by rejecting Keystone XL and who else stands to benefit from his decision?
It was previously reported on The Blaze that Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC railroad — a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska based Berkshire Hathaway — would be among those poised to reap sizable gains by the administration’s decision to reject TransCanada’s oil pipeline permit. Berkshire Hathaway purchased a 22% (or, $34 billion) share of the 32,000 mile line in 2009, shortly after Obama was elected.
“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern told Bloomberg. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”