CSX terminal in North Baltimore part of $842 million projectWritten by Duane Ramsey | | email@example.com
CSX Corporation showed off the Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal in North Baltimore to local media with a tour of the nearly completed facilities Nov. 12.
Some construction continues on the $175 million project on 500 acres along state Route 18 just west of North Baltimore. The terminal is scheduled to open for business by the end of the first quarter in 2011, according to Peter Craig, terminal superintendent for CSX.
“It’s the greatest intermodal project going in North America,” Craig said.
It is part of the $842 million National Gateway project undertaken by CSX in several states that also includes intermodal terminals in Chambersburg, Pa., and Pittsburgh. An existing terminal in Columbus will be expanded as part of the project.
The intermodal rail project will offer a more efficient link for East Coast ports to growing markets in the Midwest. The Northwest Ohio terminal is designed to improve the flow of freight, create hundreds of jobs and support distribution facilities in the region, according to CSX.
The intermodal terminal will handle containers coming from ports on the East Coast, such as Baltimore, that are shipped west across Pennsylvania and Ohio on CSX trains.
Those trains could be unloaded at this terminal where containers would be loaded onto other trains heading west or south or trucks delivering containers of cargo to local destinations.
The terminal will provide a direct rail link to Chicago or bypass Chicago for direct shipment to the West Coast. The bypass will allow containers to get through Chicago faster and reduce transit time to the West Coast, Craig said.
“Customers will determine the best way to use this facility,” said Craig, who hosted potential customers for the facility at the terminal. He said they were very impressed with the facility and its potential for business.
Craig said that transshipping business would be the core of the terminal where they will move containers from train to train, train to truck and truck to train. The typical service area for such a facility is a 75-to-100-mile radius but that could be expanded based on demand, he said.
CSX reports that the terminal will handle 25 trains per day and move more than 630,000 containers and trailers per year. Craig expects the facility to handle 75 to 80 trucks daily, calling it a “modest forecast.”
“The volume will be determined by customers using the facility,” he said.
Double-stacked containers on trains could reduce the number of trucks on the highways as one train can carry the load of more than 280 trucks.
Craig said the containers, weighing up to 44,000 pounds, would contain mostly consumer and household goods, food and paper products and would be transported by trains and trucks. During the first year of operation, CSX expects more than 20,000 lifts to serve local markets including Toledo, Findlay, Napoleon, Fostoria and Bowling Green.
The five wide-span cranes will service eight processing tracks from 500 to 3,000 feet long, two straddle lanes, one truck lane and five container stacks of four high. The cranes will move from 15 to 30 containers per hour, Craig said.
The cranes are operated by one operator located in a small booth 100 feet above the ground. Crane operators will have a comfort station located outside the control booth for breaks, he said.
CSX will hire and train about 48 crane operators to work at the facility. The operators will be trained in a $700,000 simulator located in a 40-foot container on the site.
Jamie Watkins, operations manager for the terminal, is training on the simulator and actual cranes. She will help teach the incoming crane operators how to load and unload the containers from the booth using two joystick controls.
CSX has hired one manager locally and is relocating 12 additional people. It has made job offers to 80 prospective employees from about 2,700 candidates who applied for positions, Craig said.
The first round of employees will begin work in December. As many as 200 workers would be employed at the terminal by CSX and vendors working there when it opens, Craig said.
The $842 million National Gateway is a public-private partnership, with CSX providing $400 million of the development with $60 million for clearance projects. The balance includes $30 million in federal funds, $20 million from State of Ohio and $10 million from the Ohio Department of Development.
Craig said that 80 percent of the National Gateway project’s costs are already committed.
The National Gateway would provide nearly $1.7 billion in public benefits in Ohio by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by almost 2 million tons, saving $350 million in logistics costs for the state, reducing the state’s highway congestion and lowering highway maintenance costs, enhancing rail transportation infrastructure and expanding potential rail market access, according to CSX.