As published in Toledo Business Journal - December 1, 2019

CSX North Baltimore terminal cranes

CSX North Baltimore terminal cranes

LPO targets 4.1M sf complex near CSX

Strategic agreement and development plan will impact US shipping logistics and result in $250M+ of new investment in North Baltimore

Logistics Park Ohio (LPO) is an ambitious development that is now moving forward as part of a strategic initiative to change shipping logistics in the US. The 270 acre industrial development, directly adjacent to CSX’s multimodal operations in North Baltimore, has been designed to provide 4.1 million square feet of industrial space. The logistics park will include traditional warehousing and distribution capabilities, as well as value-added services such as a container yard and equipment storage, export container stuffing, and transload and breakbulk resources, all within a heavy-haul local corridor.

NorthPoint Development, headquartered near Kansas City, Missouri has teamed with JLL, a large real estate services company with offices across the country, to win tenant commitments for the new logistics park development. Infrastructure construction is anticipated to start before the end of the year and efforts are underway to secure contracts with major clients for build-to-suit industrial facilities. Development and company officials estimate that the project could potentially result in over $250 million of new investment and over 2,000 new jobs.

Strategic initiative

Late last summer, a critical agreement was structured between two large Class 1 US railroads; CSX and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF). The haulage agreement between the two corporations significantly reduces the time of large rail shipments across the country and significantly improves efficiencies of operations for the two carriers. The new service is for direct-rail domestic and international container-only service.

The agreement between the carriers provides for important efficiency improvements in the Chicago hubs for both railroads. Chicago is the easternmost hub for BNSF. Prior to the agreement, shipments from the West Coast came into Chicago and then containers were transferred by truck to the CSX Chicago hub. According to carriers, Chicago has been notorious for long shipping delays as the volume of shipments and the extra handling created a bottleneck for rail traffic with delays adding two to three days to many shipments. With the new agreement, trains from the West Coast will move through Chicago without being taken apart and then sent directly to North Baltimore. Similarly, trains from North Baltimore will also move through Chicago and travel directly to the West Coast.

Park 70/75 West in Vandalia, Ohio is a NorthPoint Development facility near Dayton

Park 70/75 West in Vandalia, Ohio is a NorthPoint Development facility near Dayton

“Our new Ohio intermodal service will create an efficient, direct service from the West Coast into the Ohio Valley region,” said Tom Williams, BNSF group vice president, consumer products. “It’s another way BNSF is working to streamline the existing supply chain and makes moving products easier.”

Further enhancing rail shipping logistics is a change by CSX to offer intermodal service from the Ports of New York and New Jersey to the company’s North Baltimore intermodal terminal. Containers will be able to move from the busy Port of New York/New Jersey and travel to North Baltimore for distribution through the Ohio Valley. Or containers would be able to be moved from the Port of New York/New Jersey through North Baltimore directly to Chicago for distribution or through Chicago without delay to be sent across the country to Los Angeles on the west coast.

Another important part of the strategic plan is designed to win intermodal business from heavy-haul freight movements. The large crane capabilities at CSX’s North Baltimore terminal will allow heavy container hauls to be moved and transferred inside the yard allowing users to ship intermodal cargoes that have more weight than what would be allowed on highways and roads. With the planned construction of Logistics Park Ohio adjacent to the North Baltimore terminal, the service further allows shippers to avoid the need to break down such a heavy shipment before it is moved into an LPO warehouse, thus saving the customer significant cost.

According to CSX, this suite of new services and support are enabled by the improved train plan and simplified switching operation at the northwest Ohio terminal in North Baltimore, which will contribute to the company’s long-term, profitable intermodal growth.

The strategic agreement between CSX and BNSF provides significant potential for service improvement to shippers moving containers in the US. According to CSX, the haulage agreement between the carriers and the plans for Logistics Park Ohio position the strategically-located North Baltimore terminal for growth and strengthen CSX’s value offering in the Ohio Valley.

James M. Foote, CSX’s president and CEO said, “CSX’s Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal (in North Baltimore) is ideally situated on CSX’s main line network 30 miles south of Toledo on Interstate 75 and is surrounded by a population of nearly 30 million within a 200-mile radius. We are excited to transform northwest Ohio into a regional demand point that provides attractive solutions for customers and supply chain needs.”

 

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