Canadian National Railway is investing in two intermodal facilities in the Midwest to help shippers access the West Coast ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, the company said last week.
The facilities are scheduled to open in June.
The railroad also announced the arrival of the first trains at its new, C$200 million ($151 million) logistics park in Calgary, Alberta.
Railroads are investing heavily in intermodal, because demand by merchandise shippers has made it the fastest growing segment of their business portfolios.
CN said it will build an intermodal ramp at its freight classification yard in Joliet, Ill. The railroad currently runs intermodal unit trains from Prince Rupert and Vancouver to a facility in Homewood, Ill., south of Chicago. The new ramp offers another access point for shippers to pick up imports for delivery to nearby warehouses. The railroad offers transit times of about 100 hours from the West Coast to Chicago.
|CN Locomotive 5748
CN said a third party will also operate an export transloading facility on the site to fill outbound containers with grain.
Meanwhile, CN is partnering with the Indiana Rail Road Co. to construct an intermodal terminal in downtown Indianapolis to give shippers in this important logistics hub an all-rail option for international shipments to and from Asia.
The Indiana Rail Road will own and operate the new facility, located at its existing Senate Ave. terminal, and move trains to the CN network. CN is contributing an undisclosed amount to the project, spokesman Mark Hallman said.
A grain transloading facility will also be available at the site.
The truck-rail transfer facility offers shippers the ability to avoid truck transport on the heavily congested Interstate-65 corridor to pick up import containers or deliver exports in Chicago, the companies said.
CN estimates imports can reach Chicago and Indianapolis from Asia in as little as 18 to 20 days when Vancouver and Prince Rupert when vessels make their first stops in Vancouver or Prince Rupert.
CN's new intermodal terminal in Calgary has 30 percent more capacity than its existing facility and room for expansion. Calgary is located midway between the Canadian gateway ports on the West Coast and the Midwest market, but is a growing regional market in its own right.
The facility has four automated in-gates and three automated out-gates to keep truck turnaround times in the terminal to below 45 minutes, CN said.
The logistics park has space to accommodate more than 2.5 million square feet of distribution facilities, and includes a new auto terminal.
"The Calgary Logistics Park will help CN to reduce transportation costs of its customers through highly efficient materials handling, transportation and distribution process, and this will help them grow their business," Chief Marketing Officer Jean-Jacques Rouest said in a statement. - Eric Kulisch