Boise signs agreement to sell railway

Boise Cascade announced today that the company has reached a definitive agreement to sell the stock of its Minnesota, Dakota & Western (MD&W) railway in International Falls, Minnesota, to Watco Companies, Inc.
The sale of the railway will include MD&W’s portion of the International Bridge, a rail and toll bridge that links the communities of International Falls and Fort Frances.
Abitibi-Consolidated will continue to own the Canadian portion of the bridge. The sale is subject to the approval of both company’s boards of directors and is expected to close by the end of August 2006.
“We are pleased about the sale of MD&W to Watco.” said Brett Norseth, director of transportation. “We have had a relationship with Watco for over 20 years including service at our paper mills in DeRidder, Louisiana, and Wallula, Washington, and we know Watco will provide quality service to its customers and maintain the high standards of MD&W.”
MD&W includes four miles of mainline railway and 20 miles of track used for internal purposes at the Boise mill in International Falls.
In addition to Boise, the railway serves Abitibi Consolidated and several local enterprises. After the sale, Watco is committed to providing long-term freight service to the facilities currently serviced by MD&W.
Originally established in 1910, MD&W was purchased by a Boise subsidiary in 1965 and has been operated by the company since that time.
The railway currently has nine salaried and 25 hourly employees.
“One of the biggest strengths of our workforce,” said Garry Neumann, MD&W general manager, “is our employees’ commitment to safety, and our operation has an excellent safety record.”
“We are committed to working with Boise, Abitibi, the communities of International Falls and Fort Frances, and any potential new customers to grow the business on the MD&W,” said Rick Webb, chief executive officer, Watco Companies, Inc. “We will continue the tradition of excellent customer service that the entire MD&W team is know for in the railroad industry,” he added. “Boise has been part of the Watco family from the first day of our existence. Boise was our first customer in DeRidder, Louisiana, and we are excited to welcome the employees of the MD&W into our company,” noted Webb.