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Russian CNG deal a ‘huge opportunity’ for IMW in Chilliwack

B.C. Premier Christy Clark visits Chilliwack
B.C. Premier Christy Clark visits Chilliwack's IMW in April, 2012.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS File

Export superstars IMW Industries are about to see a significant upswing in production from its Chilliwack location.

“It’s an extremely exciting time at IMW,” says Dave Orton, senior VP global business development and marketing for IMW Industries.

IMW, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels, inked a partnership agreement with Russian Machines Corp. to produce compressors from its global headquarters and manufacturing plant in Chilliwack.

“This agreement represents a huge opportunity in a massive market, and we’ve just nailed the perfect partner,” said Orton.

The fact that Russian Machines have power and influence necessary to “reach well into the CIS market, and are aligned in similar industry, making CNG buses and light commercial vehicles,” bodes well, he said.

The agreement will lead to an increased number of stable jobs offered from Chillwack. It’s hard to say exactly how many new jobs, he said, but it will require more skilled labour, engineers and technologists.

“We will be attracting a high calibre work force at good wages, with all the spinoff and benefits to the surrounding economy.”

The deal also dovetails with the May 2013 Russian decree requiring conversion of 50 per cent of public transit and other vehicles to natural gas fuel by 2020, in cities with a population of more than one million people.

“That’s a lot when you consider the sheer size of Russia,” said Orton.

So is this technology the future?

“You can’t open a paper these days without hearing about LNG or CNG,” he said. “It’s a lower cost fuel, that’s cleaner by a long shot. It just makes a lot of sense.”

IMW officials just began doubling their global sales team. They now cover four regions that span the globe, and are in 26 countries.

This latest agreement has been underway for more than year.

IMW officials announced details on Thursday of an exclusive distribution and customer care agreement with Russian Machines Corporation (RM), part of the Basic Element Group. RM will be the exclusive distributor of IMW compressors, compressed natural gas (CNG) filling solutions, parts, and sole provider of maintenance and service within the Russian Federation.

“The Russian CNG vehicle market holds tremendous potential and the market for quality compressor equipment is expected to rapidly increase,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. “As reported by Reuters in May 2013, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s May decree underscores the economic and environmental benefits a vibrant Russian CNG vehicle market would represent and we’re eager to help this market succeed.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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