It wasn't so long ago that the founders of Mobil Grain wore the very shoes of the producers they serve today.
Following in the footsteps of their father, Lavern and Sheldon Affleck successfully farmed, processed, and marketed their crops. On the side, they developed and sold automation systems and color sorting technology to enhance crops.
After many years on the farm, the brothers decided to focus more on the processing and marketing aspect of the industry...and the idea of a transportable grain terminal was born. The design criterion was based around the plan to have flexibility to be able to easily adapt to the ever-changing face of agriculture. In 2005, Mobil Grain's first operation site was set up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. A year later, making use of its transportability feature, Mobil Grain was relocated to Meyronne, Saskatchewan where they developed a great relationship with the Great Western Railway shortline. Both Sheldon and Lavern were impressed with the unexpected benefits of a private railcar operation.
Encouraged by their positive experience with Great Western, Mobil Grain was excited to hear about the opportunity of reviving a CN track that was destined for abandonment.
October 15, 2009 marked the grand opening of Last Mountain Railway, which runs along highway 11 from Regina up to Davidson. Mobil Grain’s processing system was then relocated to Bethune, Saskatchewan, while a truck unloading facility was set up in nearby Chamberlain. Mobil Grain built a high-throughput transloading system at Aylesbury, equipped with four very large conveyors and state-of-the-art weighing technology. The highly-efficient transloader accommodates product transfers from truck-to-railcar, railcar-to-railcar, and railcar-to-truck.
Developing a favorable relationship with CN, Mobil Grain was presented with the opportunity to purchase Big Sky Rail, a 250-mile track running southwest of Saskatoon.
To the founders, this was an exciting chance to provide producers with an alternative to their long distance hauls on secondary highways. On September 22, 2011, the bright blue and green Mobil Grain locomotives rolled into Eston, SK honking to mark the official opening of Big Sky Rail.
Mobil Grain’s newest sister company, MobilEx Terminal, is a port transfer facility located in Thunder Bay, ON. This loop-track, conveyor unload system is impressively efficient in the direct transfer of product from railcar to ship vessel.