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Rail News: Intermodal

KCS, NS seal deal on Meridian Speedway joint venture


It’s a done deal. Yesterday, Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern Corp. announced they closed the transaction to create a joint venture that will manage KCS’ Meridian Speedway between Meridian, Miss., and Shreveport, La.

Now, KCS will contribute the 320-mile line to the joint venture, Meridian Speedway L.L.C., and NS will make an initial cash payment of $100 million. Under the agreement proposed in December, KCS agreed to contribute the line but retain a 70 percent interest; NS agreed to invest $300 million during the next four years to help expand the Speedway’s capacity — such as by installing signal systems, extending sidings and building portions of double track — in return for a 30 percent interest in the line.

Approved by the Surface Transportation Board last month, the joint venture will enable the railroads to move more intermodal shipments between the southeast and southwest U.S., and carloads and intermodal loads between the southeast and KCS’ U.S./Mexican rail network.

“This partnership creates benefits that extend beyond the geographical scope of the Meridian Speedway," said NS Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman in a prepared statement.

KCS plans to begin operating the Speedway according to the joint pact.

“Now, we can move forward with implementing capacity and service improvements to the benefit of shippers using this very important transcontinental rail corridor,” said KCS Chairman, President and CEO Mike Haverty. “This is another key element in KCS’ overall strategy to develop the franchise not only north and south, but east and west.”