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Norfolk Southern rolls out Columbia, S.C.-based Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer terminal

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 27, 2013

Class I railroad carrier Norfolk Southern (NS) said this week it has opened up a Thoroughbred Bulk Transfer (TBT) terminal in Columbia, South Carolina.

NS officials said the TBT terminals are specialized facilities that allow customers to transfer a large array of commodities between rail cars and trucks, adding that TBT terminals are owned by Norfolk Southern and operated by independent contractors that are industry experts in facilitating safe and efficient bulk transfer and distribution. The facilities, said NS, allow customers without rail sidings to receive the benefits of rail economics and service quality.

NS has 31 TBT facilities in 17 states, with the new one in Columbia operated under license by RSI Leasing Inc. The new facility can handle dry and liquid bulk commodities such as flour, sugar, and plastic pellets, and aggregates, steel, and lumber, and it also has five acres of paved lay-down area, a certified truck scale, and is fully fenced and lighted, according to NS. The railroad carrier added that this terminal serves markets in the Columbia area and points east, including Darlington, Florence, Hartsville, Orangeburg, and Sumter.

“The Columbia TBT is well-positioned to help NS expand its TBT terminal footprint by extending the reach of our network even more effectively to serve additional markets,” a NS spokesperson told LM. “The facility, which is strategically located, will help reduce trucks mileage, emissions and costs by more efficiency serving regional and local customers. It had been in planning for about a year.”

The spokesperson added that some of the targeted customers are receiving direct truck shipments, so by going through the Columbia TBT, they can leverage rail economics into the facility with final delivery by truck to locations not having rail unloading capability.

In terms of the biggest benefits of this new TBT for shippers, the NS spokesperson explained that trucking will become more expensive with higher fuel costs, driver shortages, and highway congestion, and using a facility like Columbia for the first leg of a movement allows shippers to benefit from using rail, one car of which may hold more than four trucks by weight, and then make delivery to the customer by truck.  The spokesperson said that one targeted customer is currently moving product by truck from Central Pennsylvania to a South Carolina destination.

“Transloading product through Columbia will reduce a 600 mile truck haul to about 80 miles,” the spokesperson said. “”Less highway miles and a better value in the supply chain:  a win-win.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
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. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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