United Sugars debuts world-class sugar dome

by Ron Sterk
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United Sugars Sugar Dome
United Sugars' new $44 million facility is on schedule to be operational before the end of 2016.

MONTGOMERY, ILL. — United Sugars Corp. on Nov. 2 debuted to growers and customers its bulk refined sugar transfer and distribution facility in the village of Montgomery, Ill., about 45 miles west of Chicago.

Although final phases of construction still are being completed, the $44 million facility is on schedule to be operational before the end of 2016, the company said. Construction of the facility began about a year ago.

Matt Wineinger, United Sugars
Matt Wineinger, president of United Sugars

“As soon as we are done with construction and cleaned up, we are going to start putting sugar in it,” said Matt Wineinger, president of United Sugars. “We’re excited to get after serving customers.”

United Sugars will bring refined beet sugar by train from plants in the Red River Valley during the prime processing period from November through January for distribution from March forward by truck in the Chicago and Midwest region, placing the supply nearer to users and making for faster delivery that is less susceptible to weather and other delays. It is the largest free-standing bulk storage facility in the United States built near customers rather than at a sugar processing plant.

“We have been dreaming about the day when we could do a better job of ensuring supply and service to our customers,” said Robert Green, chairman of American Crystal Sugar Co. and a farmer from St. Thomas, N.D. “It finally has come to fruition. This is a huge point of pride for us.”

Robert Green, American Crystal Sugar Co.
Robert Green, chairman of American Crystal Sugar Co., said the new facility is a "huge point of pride."

The facility includes a 26,000-square-foot bulk storage dome, a 17,000-square-foot transfer facility and about a mile of railroad track. The sugar dome is the only one of its kind used for sugar in the United States and is one of three used for sugar globally, with the others in Hungary and Honduras. It is about 134 feet high and 183 feet across. The dome will hold about 65,000 tons (130 million lbs, equal to 650 rail cars or 2,600 bulk trucks) of refined sugar and is expected to be turned twice each year. Twenty-four incoming train cars may be unloaded daily, and 75 trucks may be loaded daily to distribute sugar within about a four-hour radius of the facility. The 20-acre site has room for a second dome that may be considered in the future depending on customer demand.

BNSF Railway will handle the rail deliveries to the storage dome from the Red River Valley, and A&R Logistics will handle truck deliveries from the facility with a dedicated fleet.

United Sugars truck
A&R Logistics will handle truck deliveries from the facility with a dedicated fleet.
 

United Sugars is the marketing arm of the American Crystal Sugar Co., Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, both grower-owned sugar beet cooperatives in the Red River Valley, and United States Sugar Corp. in Clewiston, Fla. Most of the financing for the facility was provided by American Crystal.
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