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Rail News: Intermodal

Joint intermodal service primed for 'matchback' business, CN and INRD say


A new joint intermodal service from West Coast Canadian ports to Indianapolis that's set to launch July 1 will offer export "matchback" opportunities for steamship lines and shippers, CN and Indiana Rail Road Co. (INRD) officials announced on Friday.

CN and INRD plan to provide intermodal service from ports in Prince Rupert and Vancouver, British Columbia, to Indianapolis twice weekly. The service will target containerized goods moving from Asian ports — such as those in Shanghai and Qingdao, China, and Busan, Korea — to the U.S. Midwest in less than 24 days. As volumes increase, greater port efficiencies will trim total transit time to 18 to 20 days, CN and INRD officials said in a press release.

The matchback process calls for locating export loads to fill import containers that otherwise would travel back to a port empty. Several on-site transloaders at INRD's new Senate Avenue intermodal terminal in Indianapolis are primed to load thousands of containers each year with agricultural and manufactured goods produced in Indiana, CN and INRD officials said.

For example, Midwest Commodities L.L.C., which primarily ships soybeans and distillers dried grains with solubles for export, plans to establish a facility adjacent to the new terminal to serve the state's robust soybean and corn-product industries, they said. In addition, Merchandise Warehouse operates a freezing and export facility about one-quarter mile west of the terminal.

INRD is building a more than $2 million intermodal ramp and container yard at its Senate Avenue terminal. The container yard will be bonded per U.S. Customs and Border Patrol regulations.

INRD also announced it will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Indiana Department of Transportation on June 20 to mark the opening of a transload facility along Interstate 69 in Odon, Ind.

The rail-to-truck transload facility will target southwest Indiana companies that want to take advantage of the railroad's service and North American rail network connections, while maintaining the flexibility of short-haul truck pick up and delivery services, INRD officials said.