Pounds: Freight in ToledoWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
When discussing Toledo’s competitive advantages, transportation is a key element, from rail, roads and waterways.
As reported by Toledo Free Press Senior Business Writer Duane Ramsey, transportation professionals came from around the state, several neighboring states and Canada to participate in the fifth annual Ohio Conference on Freight in Toledo on Sept. 20-21 and brought to light several interesting points. The conference brought about 160 transportation professionals together to focus on the movement of goods through Ohio and the Great Lakes Region, according to Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG).
“Transportation is the key to economic growth in the U.S.,” Leslie Blakey, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors in Washington, D.C., told Ramsey. Blakey said that President Barack Obama supports transportation infrastructure and the American Jobs Act would provide funding for transportation that would positively affect the economy.
Ramsey reported that the conference included discussions of transporting freight by air, highway, rail and water as well as intermodal, which involves more than one of those modes.
“Ohio has a significant geographic advantage for transportation of goods,” Mark Locker, freight and maritime planner for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), told Ramsey, citing the convergence of air, highways, railroads and seaport modes in the state. “Economic competitiveness in Ohio has resulted in a strong transportation system.”
One of the major topics at the conference involved the shipment of goods from seaports on the East Coast on the CSX and Norfolk Southern rail systems that connect Ohio and the Midwest to those ports, Ramsey reported.
“Both CSX and Norfolk Southern have connections to the Port of Toledo and intermodal projects in Northwest Ohio.
“CSX opened its new intermodal facility in North Baltimore earlier this year that handles moving container freight from train to train, train to truck and truck to train,” he wrote.
CSX is planning a new terminal in Maryland to handle the large volume of freight that comes into the Port of Baltimore. Much of that freight has destinations in Ohio or passes through the state for other locations in the Midwest. Norfolk Southern is developing the Airline Junction intermodal project in South Toledo, which is scheduled for completion by the end of this year, according to company officials.
Another topic at the conference was Ohio’s connection with Canada, which is the state’s largest trading partner, according to officials on both sides of the border. Ohio is Ontario’s second largest trading partner, trailing only Michigan.
The opportunities with intermodal and Canadian freight are not pie-in-the-sky dreams. They are real, money-making paths right in front of us. Regional branches of government need to be in tune with TMACOG and ODOT to make sure the Toledo area is accessing the most of these opportunities.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.