CN's Indiana Intermodal Service Will Expand Shipper Reach

CN's Indiana Intermodal Service Will Expand Shipper Reach

Canadian National Railway’s plan to build an intermodal terminal in Indianapolis with the Indiana Rail Road Company fits into the former’s broader effort to give shippers using its top Asian gateways access to new markets.

The planned terminal at INRD’s existing Senate Avenue Terminal, located in downtown Indianapolis, will give Indiana importers and exporters an all-rail option for containerized products moving through Port Metro Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert. The terminal, which will have a container yard and on-site agriculture products container export loading facility, will begin receiving imports in late June. CN says imports from Shanghai and Qingdao, China, and Busan, South Korea, can be shipped to the Indianapolis terminal in as little as 18 to 20 days when using first port of call service.

"Anyone who drives Interstate 65 between Indianapolis and Chicago knows what a bottleneck it is,” said Tom Hoback, INRD founder, president and chief executive officer, in a written statement. “CN-INRD intermodal service will offer a more reliable, consistent and environmentally-friendly movement of goods that is less susceptible to costly weather and congestion delays."

The announcement of the partnership comes as the largest Canadian railroad expands capacity on its Edmonton, Alberta–Prince Rupert, British Columbia, corridor, and builds on its intermodal terminal network. CN opened its $220 million Calgary Logistics Park earlier this month, and will expand existing intermodal terminals in Memphis, Tenn., and Toronto and Edmonton, Ontario, in 2013. The railroad also aims to give shippers more access to the eastern U.S. market by strengthening its steel-wheel interchange with CSX Transportation and increasing service to Detroit.

Of the two major container ports served by CN, Prince Rupert has seen the fastest growth, albeit from a lower base. The port handled its 500,000th container of 2012 on Nov. 18, further signaling its ability to take market share from U.S. West Coast ports. The port is estimated to have handled about 550,000 20-foot equivalent units in 2012, a roughly 40 percent year-over-year increase. Port Metro Vancouver saw container traffic rise 10.3 percent in the first 11 months of 2012 to 777,361 TEUs.

Contact Mark Szakonyi at mszakonyi@joc.com and follow him at twitter.com/szakonyi_joc.