Agriculture shippers are concerned that they won’t be able to bring their goods to BNSF Railway’s soon-to-open intermodal terminal in the Kansas City area because overweight containers aren't permitted on the road connecting the facility and the nearby interstate.
The railroad said it expects the issue will be resolved. Shippers will have to reroute several hundred containers weekly starting in October if the City of Edgerton, Kan., doesn’t allow overweight containers to move on Homestead Lane, which connects Interstate 35 to the 433-acre terminal, said April Zobel, logistics and export manager at Lansing Trade Group. She said city officials told her today that they are willing to work on the issue with the shippers.
“BNSF is actively working with the City of Edgerton and others to ensure a seamless opening of Logistics Park Kansas City, and we expect any issues about heavyweight containers to be successfully resolved,” BNSF spokesman Amy Casas said in a statement.
Shippers will have to use the terminal, set to begin operations Oct. 1, because BNSF’s existing intermodal terminal at the Argentine Yard will no longer be available to them, Zobel said. She said the Edgerton City Council tabled discussion of the issue until Aug. 22 and said it wouldn’t address shippers’ concerns until it explored the impact of heavier loads on the road.
The problem is that the soonest the city council will be able to address the issue is at that next meeting on Aug. 22, and shippers need to know where their shipments are heading 70 to 120 days in advance, Zobel said. A group of agriculture shippers is willing to pay a small fee to the city if that’s what it takes to be allowed to move overweight containers on the road. Edgerton City Administrator Beth Linn did not respond to a request for comment.
"The city is definitely willing to find a solution, and they are absolutely concerned with the impact on the roads and having the ability to maintain them," Zobel said. "They just want to be sure it's done right the first time."
If agriculture shippers aren’t able to bring their freight to the BNSF terminal, they will could potentially move freight to different lanes.
This story was updated with the news that Edgerton city officials on Wednesday expressed interest in resolving the issue.