Public-Private Sector Cooperation Needed to Meet Nation's Infrastructure Needs, CSX Execs Say
Global trade trends underscore the critical need for expanded transportation and distribution infrastructure in the United States, and Class I railroads plan to do their part, as two CSX Corp. execs noted during the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) Intermodal Expo, held Nov. 16-18 at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"Intermodal transportation combines the efficiency of rail with the flexibility of trucks," said CSX Intermodal President, Jim Hertwig, during one IANA panel. "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."
To streamline operations in Chicago and improve overall customer service, CSX next year will begin construction of an intermodal facility in North Baltimore, which is in northwest Ohio. Last year, CSX opened an intermodal terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and continues work to expand facilities in major markets such as Charlotte, N.C.
The new northwest Ohio intermodal facility 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 would reduce congestion on the nation's crowded highways and improve rail fluidity.
"Customers, policymakers and the public are realizing the environmental and economic benefits of freight rail," added Lisa Mancini, CSX Transportation vice president, strategic infrastructure initiatives, during her IANA session. "CSX invests heavily in our network and is actively exploring public-private partnerships, such as the National Gateway, that will deliver impressive public benefits in years to come."
By converting more than 2 billion highway miles to rail, the National Gateway would reduce transportation emissions by an estimated 4 million tons, save more than $2 billion in shipping costs and reduce fuel consumption by nearly 500 million gallons, CSX officials believe.