CSX Intermodal terminal in North Carolina opens in September as rail volumes rise

At Kanban Logistics, we’ve been following every development of the CSX Intermodal terminal in North Carolina (also known as the “Carolina Connector”) since the original plans were unveiled back in 2016. Since that time, the project has had some tumultuous starts and stops before being revived in 2019 by the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and other key players. The intermodal facility will go live next month, and the timing couldn’t be better as intermodal rail volumes are rising rapidly.


What is the CSX Intermodal North Carolina terminal?

csx-intermodal-north-carolinaThe Carolina Connector is an intermodal rail terminal that sits on 330 acres in Rocky Mount, NC, which is located in the Eastern part of the state. The terminal enables rail containers to be offloaded from freight cars arriving at the terminal and then loaded onto another train or truck for final distribution.

In our interview with Norris Tolson, CEO of the Carolina Gateways Partnership, Mr. Tolson summarized the expected impact of the terminal. “This intermodal terminal improves access to the marketplace. It fills a hole in the CSX railroad system – a hole the size of North Carolina. We didn’t have a terminal like this here in the state, and our intermodal capabilities were diminished because of it.

This terminal now allows companies from the region to access their customers efficiently via rail. It also allows companies outside the region to reach customers within North Carolina by rail. It will allow all these companies to operate more efficiently and with lower costs as they can now depend on rail for large portions of their products’ journeys into and out of the state.”

The terminal was originally expected to go online in the fall of 2020. Due to pandemic-related delays, it will now open in September 2021 with the ability to handle 1,250,000 containers a year. As the original 330-acre site has been built with the ability to expand to over 700 acres, the site can easily grow to handle 2,500,000 containers a year.


Intermodal rail volumes continue to rise

While the CSX intermodal terminal in North Carolina was always going to be a very welcome addition to Tar Heel State logistics ops, the timing of its go-live couldn’t be better.

Shippers across the country are having trouble getting their products on the move via OTR trucking due to  the driver shortage, rising costs, and tight freight capacity. Because of these trucking issues, shippers are turning more and more to intermodal rail transport.

According to Supply Chain Dive, intermodal rail volumes in Q2 2021 are up 20.4% compared to Q2 2020 and up 6% compared to Q2 2019 (pre-pandemic). As the trucking issues are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, intermodal rail volumes are expected to remain high well into 2022.

The CSX intermodal terminal in North Carolina is fully equipped to handle a large chunk of these volumes for freight entering the Tar Heel State.


Lean on Kanban Logistics to support your CSX intermodal movements

If your logistics operations plan on taking advantage of the new intermodal capabilities in Eastern North Carolina, let Kanban Logistics support those movements. Our 7-facility warehouse network offers over 1 million square feet of warehousing space in the Eastern part of the state. This includes our facility in Rocky Mount, which is served by CSX (for whom Kanban is a TransFLO premier partner), has rail siding and a transload yard, and is a foreign trade zone (FTZ).

In addition to our existing 175,000 square foot warehouse, the Rocky Mount campus is also home to a shovel-ready site – with a pad already in place – that could serve as the home of your next distribution center.

To learn more about the ways that Kanban can support your intermodal operations in North Carolina, contact us today.

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