APL announces plans for new Chicago-area intermodal terminal

Container shipping carrier APL recently said it has made a land purchase in Joliet, Illinois to develop an intermodal container terminal. APL officials said the company purchased 43 acres of space from CenterPoint Properties within the CenterPoint Intermodal Center, the largest inland port in the United States.

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Container shipping carrier APL recently said it has made a land purchase in Joliet, Illinois to develop an intermodal container terminal. APL officials said the company purchased 43 acres of space from CenterPoint Properties within the CenterPoint Intermodal Center, the largest inland port in the United States.

APL spokesperson Pam Pung told LM that the driver for this purchase was that APL wanted be closer to the international rail terminals in the logistics park as well as the growing customer base in that area.

“APL continuously evaluates the efficiency and service level provided by its intermodal network,” explained Pung. “A search for a suitable location for the facility began once it became apparent that both major western railroads [BNSF and Union Pacific] would have their terminals located in the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.”

In terms of shipper benefits, Pung said that shippers enjoy proximity to the rail terminals and the growing number of distribution centers and warehouses in that area. What’s more, she said that technological investments APL is making in the terminal gate and operating systems will facilitate time-efficient cargo flows in/out of the yard its customers.

In addition to the APL-owned and operated marine terminals in Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle, APL has more than 80 intermodal container yards in the cities and markets that it serves in the U.S.  Most are contracted with third parties, with APL owning the facilities in Chicago, South Kearny and Atlanta.

Pung said this facility will have approximately 1,500 wheeled parking spaces, with the capacity to handle far beyond that with decking capability for both loaded and empty containers.

This new facility is expected to be completed by December, with APL saying it will function as its Chicago Global Gateway and serve shippers in Chicago and surrounding areas. In time, it will replace APL’s Chicago-based container terminal, which has been functional since 1985.

“The purchase of this land is in line with APL’s long term strategic objectives. APL has a strong trans-continental intermodal network in the US and we want to build on that strength,” said APL Americas President Gene Seroka in a statement.

Intermodal movements, particularly on the domestic side, continue to see steady annual volume gains. And intermodal continues to make strides due to fuel price pressure and its ability to provide service comparable to truckload at a more favorable rate, say shippers and analysts.

According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), intermodal volumes on a year-to-date basis at 5,619,145 are up 8 percent compared to 2010.
Intermodal continues to make strides on the domestic side due to fuel price pressure and its ability to provide service comparable to truckload at a more favorable rate, say shippers and analysts.

 


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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