Whether it’s due to the trucker shortage, cost concerns, convenience, or a variety of other factors, more shippers are entrusting at least part of their freight to intermodal (rail and OTR) transport. In fact, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), the top two weeks in U.S. intermodal history – in terms of freight volume – just occurred in the last two weeks of September 2018.
As intermodal volumes continue to grow, we continue to receive more inquiries about supporting intermodal freight at our rail transload facility in Eastern NC. In this article, we want to provide a look at exactly what that entails.
The rail transload facility: how it works
Kanban’s distribution campus in Rocky Mount, NC is served by CSX rail. We’re able to support incoming rail freight from the CSX railway in one of two ways:
- Boxcars can be brought up to one of our warehouse’s four rail-siding doors. They can then be unloaded directly into the warehouse before heading back out to the rail.
- Center-beam cars are brought to our transload yard. Once in the yard, the products can be loaded onto flatbed trucks which can transport the product inside the warehouse via drive-through doors, or the trucks can head out straightaway and deliver the products to the destination. As for storage, there are some products that are suitable for storage in our 2-acre outdoor storage space, while most others will be brought inside the warehouse.
For loading of outbound rail, these processes are simply reversed.
Advantages of intermodal transport
As you can see, utilizing a rail transload facility for intermodal transport of your freight is not a difficult process. The only real downside to incorporating rail into your distribution operation is that, while rail schedules can be accurately forecasted, rail transport does take quite a bit longer than OTR.
As for upsides, use of rail allows you to:
- reduce your reliance on OTR drivers that can be very hard to come by in this tight capacity market
- reduce your freight costs significantly versus OTR
- make your supply chain more flexible by giving you another transportation option
- consolidate large amounts of your products in a specific location – at a relatively low cost – in advance of a major project (e.g., construction)
Lean on Kanban’s rail transload facility to handle your intermodal operation
Kanban’s Rocky Mount distribution campus is located minutes from I-95 and served by CSX rail – for whom Kanban is a TransFLO premier partner. In addition to its rail siding and transload yard, Kanban’s 175,000-sq-ft warehouse is temperature controlled and acts as a foreign trade zone. It employs specialized equipment to handle oversized items and is fully lit day and night to support off-hour operations.
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 this opportunity as well as Kanban’s many logistics capabilities, contact us today.