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Global intermodal logistics: CSX champions public-private infrastructural investment

Logistics Management


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Shippers sourcing goods from U.S. east coast ports are being asked to support new efforts to attract public and private investment to improve rail infrastructure. And CSX Transportation is taking an active role on this front beginning next year, when it will break ground on an intermodal facility at North Baltimore in northwest Ohio. This facility will streamline operations in Chicago. The company opened a new intermodal terminal at Chambersburg, Pa., in 2007 and continues work to expand facilities in major markets such as Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Our initiative is designed to help shippers who are increasingly reliant on the Port of Virginia," said Lisa Mancini, vice president, strategic infrastructure initiatives for CSX Transportation. "It is one of several regional gateways we need to support with more funds." Speaking at a press conference staged at the National Industrial Transportation League's (NITL) annual conference last week, Mancini told LM that the Port of Baltimore would also benefit from an infusion of future investment.

"And we are not forgetting shippers who source from the U.S. west coast either," she said. "A more developed rail network will aid them in bringing goods to a Midwest market much faster." The new intermodal facility in northwest Ohio is a key element of the National Gateway, a public-private partnership seeking to create a more efficient rail route between mid-Atlantic ports and the midwest through use of double-stack trains. By hauling more freight on fewer trains, the National Gateway is designed to reduce congestion on the nation's highways and improve rail fluidity Mancini echoed the sentiments of CSX Intermodal president, Jim Hertwig, who earlier urged more cooperation between public and private sectors to quickly address emerging trends in global trade. "Intermodal transportation combines the efficiency of rail with the flexibility of trucks," said Hertwig. "As our nation faces combined pressures from an increasingly globalized economy and deteriorating transportation infrastructure, it is critical that we work together to bolster this pillar of our national economy."

By converting over two billion highway miles to rail, the National Gateway will reduce transportation emissions by an estimated four million tons, save over $2 billion in shipping costs and reduce fuel consumption by nearly 500 million gallons.

Both Hertwig and Mancini participated in expert panels at IANA's (Intermodal Association of North America) Intermodal Expo held concurrently with NITL event.