CSX-BNSF to Launch Ohio-LA Container Service

CSX and BNSF said this week they will begin a container service between Los Angeles and Ohio that will use the Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal in North Baltimore.

The service will begin on Oct. 29 and originate trains five days a week in each direction.

On BNSF, the containers will move via the Southern Transcon route west of Chicago.

“Customers who take advantage of this new service can reach key markets within the fast-growing Ohio Valley region,” said BNSF Group Vice President Consumer Products Tom Williams in a statement. “Our new Ohio intermodal service will create an efficient, direct service from the West Coast.”

CSX said it will work with NorthPoint Development to construct a 500-acre logistics park adjacent to North Baltimore facility and is expanding eastern access to the facility through new service to and from the Port of New York and New Jersey.

This will involve international traffic that will be trucked from North Baltimore to destinations in southern Michigan, western Ohio, and Indiana.

The logistics park will include traditional warehousing and distribution capabilities, as well as services such as a container yard and equipment storage, export container stuffing, and transload and break-bulk resources, all within a heavy-haul local corridor.

The North Baltimore facility was opened in June 2011. At the time, CSX operated it on a hub and spoke model in which containers from various locations throughout the CSX network were routed there to be interchanged.

The hub and spoke approach was intended to help build traffic density in low-density intermodal markets.

That model was dropped last year when CSX ended the hub and spoke intermodal operating model. At the time, CSX officials said sorting containers in North Baltimore added transit time to traffic that is price- and service-sensitive.

Instead, CSX said it would focus on point-to-point intermodal service in high-volume markets.

The BNSF-CSX agreement means that containers will no longer be trucked across Chicago but instead will move through the city by rail.

Intermodal analyst Larry Gross told Trains magazine that BNSF is trading the cost of trucking containers in Chicago for extended drayage from North Baltimore to destinations that include Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Louisville.

Gross said there is not much drayage capacity at present in North Baltimore, which means the new service is likely initially to appeal to national trucking companies such as J.B. Hunt and Schneider National, which have their own drivers.

“It’s not like drayage capacity will magically appear,” Gross said, but added that he expects local drayage capacity to develop as intermodal volume increases in North Baltimore.

The logistics park CSX plans to develop in North Baltimore will offer opportunities for backhaul moves of agricultural products to Asia.

The park will be similar to logistics parks that BNSF has near its intermodal facilities in Joliet, Illinois; Oklahoma City; Kansas City; and Alliance, Texas.

In the short term, CSX said the number of trains serving the North Baltimore facility won’t change, but is expected to grow over time.

The service that starts on Oct. 29 will use existing intermodal trains that BNSF and CSX interchange in Chicago.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: