CSX introduces plans for North Carolina-based intermodal terminal
January 19, 2016
Late last week, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Class I railroad carrier CSX rolled out its proposed plans for an eastern North Carolina-based intermodal rail terminal entitled the Carolina Connector or CCX.
CSX said this state-of-the-art terminal will be hugely beneficial for North Carolina businesses and ports in serving the metro-Raleigh area, which it said is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the South.
“We are excited about developing infrastructure within North Carolina that makes the state’s ports more competitive, lowers transportation costs for business, and promotes reliance on freight rail, the most fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly form of land transportation,” said Louis Renjel, CSX vice president, strategic infrastructure initiatives, in a statement. “CSX has committed to working closely with Johnston County officials and community members to build an environmentally responsible terminal that benefits the local economy and surrounding area.”
CSX said that the total estimated project costs for CCX are $272 million, with CSX committed to investing $150 million, coupled with the project’s execution contingent on securing $100 million in infrastructure investment funds proposed in North Carolina’s Strategic Transportation Investment process and the funding’s balance coming from other intact infrastructure and investment programs.
A CSX spokesperson told LM that the need for this proposed facility was driven by several factors.
“Consistent with state and local development plans, CCX represents a tremendous opportunity to establish eastern North Carolina as a premier transportation logistics hub,” the spokesperson said. “Johnston County is readily accessible to existing distribution, highway and potential port infrastructure, and is well-positioned in the overall CSX intermodal network. The greater-Raleigh area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the country. However, this large consumptive area, which includes many businesses, industries and consumers – does not have an intermodal rail terminal to serve local or connecting freight needs.”
CSX has been coordinating closely with state and local officials every step of the way and kicked off discussions with the State about a potential location for an intermodal rail terminal more than a year ago, the spokesperson said, And Following an extensive evaluation process, CSX then approached the Johnston County Economic Development Office.
“We are grateful for the partnership that we have developed with the State and the County as this project has evolved,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to a continued partnership as the project progresses.”
When asked what makes this area attractive from a freight-moving perspective, the spokesperson explained that consistent with state and local development plans, CCX represents a tremendous opportunity to establish eastern North Carolina as a premier transportation logistics hub.
“Johnston County is readily accessible to existing distribution, highway and potential port infrastructure, and is well-positioned in the overall CSX intermodal network,” the spokesperson said. “The greater-Raleigh area is one of the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the country. However, this large consumptive area, which includes many businesses, industries and consumers – does not have an intermodal rail terminal to serve local or connecting freight needs. This site is ideally positioned between CSX’s main line and I-95. With direct interstate access, trucks entering and exiting the terminal will not be routed through neighborhoods over local roads, minimizing potential congestion around the terminal.”
CSX currently serves North Carolina through two of its major network corridors – the S Line which extends north to Raleigh from Hamlet and the A Line which parallels I-95 serving eastern North Carolina. Major commodities produced or consumed within the state include containerized consumer goods, coal, aggregates, and feed grain and ingredients. The Johnston County site represents a tremendous opportunity to establish eastern North Carolina as a premier transportation logistics hub given its location on CSX’s overall intermodal network and that the growing metro-Raleigh area does not have an intermodal terminal to serve local or connecting freight needs, the spokesperson said.
In terms of what the biggest benefits of CCX are for CSX customers, the spokesperson said that CCX will create a distinct competitive advantage for North Carolina businesses by driving down logistics costs, and providing greater market access for North Carolina ports, adding that this intermodal terminal will make places like Wilmington and Morehead City more attractive for shippers from around the world.
“CCX is a transformational infrastructure project that bring numerous benefits to the community, the state and the region,” the spokesperson said. “CCX will spur short and long-term job creation. Construction of the terminal, scheduled to begin in 2018, will generate 250 to 300 construction jobs. Over time, the operations of the terminal are expected to generate 1,500 statewide positions as a result of new manufacturing, distribution and industrial businesses locating in the surrounding areas. “
What’s more, the impact of CCX operations are projected to generate: $329M in public benefits over 30 years; $125M to the state economy (through 2035); 250-300 jobs during construction and up to 1,500 statewide jobs over time; $20M of savings on highway maintenance costs; and 400,000 ton reduction in CO2 emissions in NC (equivalent to 84,000+ vehicles for one-year).
“This terminal will support existing industry in Johnston County, as well as attract additional manufacturing, distribution and industrial businesses to the area,” said Chris Johnson, director of Johnston County Economic Development, in a statement. “Johnston County is committed to working with CSX and the local community to ensure all parties benefit from this project and that the unique character and spirit of our county and community are protected and enhanced.”
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