Cargill, Inc., the giant international agriculture company based in Minneapolis, yesterday announced plans for a $2.5 million flour terminal in Northeast Maryland.
Plans for the complex, to be constructed at Barksdale, near Elkton, are contingent on Interstate Commerce Commission approval of an innovative rate structure for shipping flour, proposed by the Norfolk & Western and Chessie System railroad firms.
Under the plan proposed by Cargill and the railroads, flour would be shipped from midwestern mills to East Coast bakers in 50-car "unit trains," similar to trains that now exclusively haul grain or coal.
Currently, all flour is shipped in single freight cars under rates that apply to one car. As a result, flour mills generally have been constructed at destination points for shipment of wheat by barge or unit trains, to take advantage of cheaper, bulk rates.
According to Gerald Mitchell, vice president and head of the milling division of Cargill, the proposed unit rates for flour "could reverse" this trend of flour mill construction.
Cargill, for example, would ship flour from Kansas to Maryland for unloading and shipment by truck directly to bakers. The rate per hundred pounds of flour would be $1.00 from Kansas City to Barksdale compared with a current rate of $1.97 from Kansas City to Philadelpia.
With the proposed unit trains carrying flour, Cargill said a 50-car train (90 tons per car) could move from Kansas City to Maryland and back within 20 days. Currently, a boxcar with a 25-ton load takes up to 60 days to get flour from market to mill and back.
Cargill would provide new freight cars for the flour shipments, under the plan before the ICC. CAPTION: Picture, Artist's drawing of proposed, $2.5 million flour mill at Barksdale, Md., Cargill, Inc.