CSX made if official today. They will build a major rail terminal in Rocky Mount.
Governor Pat McCrory was joined by other state and local officials at a press conference Tuesday making the announcement that Rocky Mount would be the home for the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal (CCX).
Officials said a number of factors were taken into consideration when choosing a location for a project of this scale and magnitude. Rocky Mount’s strategic location on the CSX network, its growing industrial market and CSX’s existing rail operations and ties to community made it an ideal home for CCX.
“This historic project is part of our 25-year vision for transportation because it facilitates efficient and cost-effective movement of goods, which is critical for job creation and economic growth,” said Governor McCrory. “The Carolina Connector will be a game-changer for our state’s economy, supporting North Carolina’s agriculture, ports and position as the Southeast’s No. 1 state for manufacturing jobs.”
Kristin Seay, a spokesperson for CSX said, “As we celebrate this announcement, we would also like to express our sincere gratitude to those who voiced their support for CCX in Johnston County and across the state. Project advocates in Johnston County were instrumental in laying the foundation for this project to succeed. Thanks in part to their support, we were able to make this terminal a reality for eastern North Carolina.”
On January 14, 2016, CSX announced plans to locate the intermodal terminal between Selma and Micro in Johnston County. It was immediately met with opposition by some landowners who raised concerns about eminent domain. On January 20th, Johnston County Commissioners pulled their support for the project at the proposed location. Two days later reports surfaced a site near Four Oaks was now under consideration.
On February 1st, the Smithfield Selma Chamber went on record in support of the terminal. During a special meeting March 23rd, commissioners reversed course and adopted a resolution in support of the rail hub. On April 11th, nearly 200 people attended a meeting at the Four Oaks Town Hall saying they were opposed to the terminal.
On April 19th, a group of local, county and state officials flew to Ohio to tour a CSX terminal similar to the one proposed in Johnston County. On April 21st, CSX representatives met privately with local leaders at the Johnston County Airport. Last week, Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker said he felt it was unlikely CSX would location in Four Oaks or in Johnston County.
$270 Million Project, Hundreds Of Jobs
The $270 million project will serve as a major transportation hub in the Southeast, and a catalyst for substantial economic growth throughout the region. According to a press release, “The CCX intermodal rail terminal will bring substantial economic benefits to Rocky Mount, the Twin Counties of Nash and Edgecombe and the state of North Carolina. CCX will create a positive economic impact by creating jobs, reducing transportation costs and stimulating economic activity. With this new transportation hub, existing businesses and state ports will have greater access to global markets at lower logistics costs. By creating and expanding growth opportunities for North Carolina businesses, over time, CCX is expected to bring $125 million to the North Carolina economy.”
“As proven with other intermodal terminals on CSX’s network, these developments attract other industrial and supporting businesses to the local and surrounding communities, creating a multiplier effect for jobs and economic growth. The Carolina Connector is estimated to create 250-300 short term construction jobs, 300 long-term positions for terminal operations and over time, 1,500+ long-term jobs across the state.”
“In addition to driving economic growth, CCX is projected to generate numerous other benefits. By converting freight shipments to rail, the new terminal will eliminate more than 16 million truck miles annually from heavily-traveled North Carolina highways, which will eliminate 270,000 truck trips from the roads each year. This will consequently reduce congestion, improve road safety and preserve roadway conditions. In total, CCX is expected to save the state $16 million in pavement maintenance savings in NC.”
“In addition to the economic advantages of rail, CCX will also benefit the environment. Rail transportation is the most environmentally friendly way to move goods over land and is four times more fuel efficient than trucks. In fact, one intermodal train can carry the load of 280 trucks. Converting freight from highway to rail reduces emissions and improves air quality. Intermodal operations at CCX are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions in the state by 655,000 tons – the equivalent of taking 138,000 cars off the road.”
CSX Committed To Working With Rocky Mount
CSX said Tuesday they are committed to partnering with Rocky Mount, state and federal officials and local residents to ensure that this development is positive for the community and the surrounding areas. “Throughout this process, CSX will work closely with the local community to communicate openly, provide project updates, solicit feedback and address concerns,” a press release stated.
To ensure that the Rocky Mount community can see the progress and become familiar with the terminal, open house events will be held at Edgecombe County Administrative Building Auditorium on Wednesday, July 27th, 6-8 pm and at the Nash Community College in the Brown Auditorium of Business & Industry on Thursday, July 28th, 6-8 pm
“CSX will work tirelessly to ensure that this project is completed the right way – in a manner that respects our neighbors and the environment. Safety will be our top priority throughout the construction process as it is in all aspects of our operations. CSX will continue to be a part of the Rocky Mount community, and looks forward to partnering with our neighbors to make this great community even better. We welcome and value your feedback, and will continue an open dialogue with the community every step of the way.”
CSX plans to design and engineer the Rocky Mount location in 2016 and 2017. Permitting and construction will begin in 2018 with completion in 2020 at which time the terminal will begin operating.
CCX will directly employ 149 workers at salaries averaging $64,047 per year. Currently, the average annual wage in Edgecombe County is $32,725.
About Intermodal Terminals
“Intermodal” refers to the movement of freight in containers using multiple modes of transportation. At intermodal terminals like CCX, containerized goods arrive on trains or trucks, are sorted and transferred by electric cranes to other trains or trucks and then shipped to their final destinations. Intermodal combines the best of both worlds — the fuel efficiency of trains with the door-to-door flexibility of trucks to deliver products to consumers in an efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly manner.
CSX has an award-winning record for its environmentally responsible operations and facilities, including intermodal terminals with low impact designs. In 2015, the Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal received the E3 Gold Award from the Ohio EPA for environmental excellence. CCX will continue this tradition of environmental excellence with state-of-the-art, sustainable technology and equipment to reduce emissions, noise and light at the facility. Among the numerous cutting-edge, energy-efficient technologies,
CCX will be equipped with:
- zero-emission, electric wide-span cranes that are almost silent;
- directional lighting to reduce potential impacts on the surrounding community;
- idle reducing technology to reduce noise, fuel consumption and carbon emissions;
- automated gate system that enhances truck throughput and minimizes wait times; and
- efficient water quality management techniques.
“From the very beginning, this project had more of a positive impact on the I-95 corridor and Eastern NC – Ports in Morehead City and Wilmington – than just Johnston County,” said Johnston County Economic Development Director Chris Johnson. “As a North Carolinian, I am glad the project is still in eastern NC and along the I-95 corridor where it is desperately needed… and not in SC or VA. Although we may not see the immediate economic benefit, we still are blessed with a tremendous amount of positives attributes that make Johnston County very attractive to economic opportunities and I am confident those will be on the horizon.”
“We are very excited with the announcement made earlier today by CSX,” stated Trent Lassiter whose family farm would have been directly impacted. “This has been going for over 6 months and our community needed some closure. We just want to say a big thanks to our neighbors, politicians, media outlets, and all of the others that have helped us throughout this process.”