Norfolk Southern breaks ground on new Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility

NS officials said the $97.5 million facility is part of the $2.5 billion Crescent Corridor initiative, which aims to establish an efficient, high-capacity intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the North East. This facility, which is located on a 316-acre site in McCalla, Alabama, is expected to open in late 2012.

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Class I railroad carrier Norfolk Southern said this week it has broken ground on its new Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility.

NS officials said the $97.5 million facility is part of the $2.5 billion Crescent Corridor initiative, which aims to establish an efficient, high-capacity intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the North East. This facility, which is located on a 316-acre site in McCalla, Alabama, is expected to open in late 2012.

This facility is expected to create 8,600 jobs in Central Alabama in the next ten years, with capacity expected to handle 165,000 containers and trailers on an annual basis.

NS added that this terminal will use sophisticated gate and terminal automation technology that is said shortens waiting time for trucks entering the terminal and reduces emissions and improves truck driver productivity.

Launched in June 2007, the Crescent Corridor is a public-private partnership (PPP) to build a rail corridor spanning from Louisiana to New Jersey. NS officials said this endeavor will expand and improve its rail network from the northeast to the southeast, expedite the delivery of cargo shipments, and reduce highway congestion by diverting truck traffic. When it is completed, NS said it will stretch across 2,500 miles from New Orleans to Newark, N.J. and run through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana.

The Crescent Corridor’s first phase is expected to be completed by 2013.

The Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility is the third of four new intermodal terminals that are part of the Crescent Corridor initiative that will be constructed or improved over the next two years. The other facilities are in Memphis; Charlotte, N.C.; and Greencastle, Pa.

“[These] corridors are focused on increasing rail capacity for freight currently moving by truck,” NS spokesperson Susan Terpay told LM. “And to be able to do that, we need to have these terminals up and running. We are still in the process of constructing the terminals to accomplish that task.”

NS cited the following as benefits of the Crescent Corridor upon its completion:
-$326 million in tax revenues to states and communities;
-1.3 million long-haul trucks diverted from interstates;
-$146 million in accident avoidance savings;
-1.9 million tons in CO2 reduction;
-$575 million in congestion savings;
-$92 million in highway maintenance savings; and
-169 million gallons in fuel savings.

 


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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