Canadian National Railway and North America Stevedoring Company, a unit of Quebec Stevedoring, said they will soon build a multi-modal steel trans-loading facility in Chicago, to tap what is already the North American hub for steel transportation.
The move is the latest in a series of supply-chain initiatives by CN targeting entire industries, including several measures focused on steel operations.
CN and NASCO will open their “Chicago Metals & Minerals Transload” center about 13 miles south of the downtown, on 190 acres of land at the Port of Chicago. That site is adjacent to CN's Kirk Yard and Interstate 90.
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There, the partners said they will give steel makers a range of options to ship “by rail, truck, intermodal container, inland barge and ocean-going vessel,” as early as next January. The service is being designed for “steel coil, sheet, plate, bar, structural, pipe and tube products, as well as dimensional loads and heavy equipment.”
Jean-Jacques Ruest, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer for CN, said the new facility “will give both CN and NASCO a strong foothold in the most important steel market in North America.” About half the continent’s steel output and consumption takes place within 300 miles of Chicago, he said.
He said the partnership between CN and the stevedore will “offer the steel industry new transportation options to tap regional and North American markets, and new port gateways for imported and exported steel. We also believe the facility will improve supply chain efficiencies for the steel industry and enhance CN's and NASCO's competitiveness in important steel markets."
Denis Dupuis, founder and president of Quebec Stevedoring, said the transload center “will have state-of-the-art machinery for quickly and efficiently transferring steel loads between rail, truck, intermodal container, barge and vessel.” He also said this deal to expand his firm’s steel handling business “could be the first stepping stone to future expansions along CN rail corridors."
Last month, CN said it was setting up strategic railcar staging locations near steel production facilities, to respond faster to their spot sales needs. It also is buying 200 standard gondola cars and 200 open coil gondolas to expand and upgrade its steel-targeted fleet. That follows CN's purchase in 2009 and 2010 of nearly 700 new iron ore cars for hauling pelletized ore in the Upper Midwest for steelmaking operations.
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