On May 9, The Indiana Rail Road Company (INRD), in conjunction with the Canadian National Railway (CN), is celebrating the introduction of direct Asia-Indianapolis intermodal freight service as it nears completion of its new hub just south of downtown Indianapolis. The INRD is expanding its existing Senate Avenue terminal and is including a container yard and an on-site agricultural products loading facility that is expected to open in July of this year.
The new facility will allow companies that ship products through Indiana to avoid the often congested intermodal hub in Chicago. Many Indiana shippers experience long truck lines, costly drayage costs (fuel, labor, maintenance, etc.) and detention charges when using the Chicago rail yards. The new facility will also allow access to a more efficient all-rail route to ports in western Canada (the Port of Vancouver and the Port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia) with access to multiple shipping lines offering weekly service to all major Asian ports.
The Conexus Indiana Logistics Council (CILC), a statewide group of logistics executives and thought leaders, has been a consistent advocate for expanded intermodal service and helped to facilitate the agreement. “This new direct west coast service, that will bypass Chicago, is a game-changer for Indiana business that will lead to time and cost efficiencies for logistics users and will help Indiana maintain and grow our position as the “Crossroads of America,” said David Holt, vice president of operations and business development for Conexus Indiana.
“For Indiana, the possibilities are much more far reaching. The direct rail service can now encourage third party logistic providers (i.e. consolidators, trucking companies) to focus more closely on potential business with local importers and exporters translating into increased local jobs,” said Chip Edgington, executive vice president of operations, OSP Group and chair of CILC. “Additionally, the significant congestion issues in Chicago, coupled with the growing service demands of customers, may encourage neighboring states to consider Indianapolis as a viable option for direct rail in the future.”
The Indianapolis facility will begin accepting empty containers in June 2013. CN officials estimate that the service will allow cargo to flow between Indianapolis and Shanghai in as little as 18-20 days.