CSX Corporation has announced plans for a new intermodal terminal between Selma and Micro.
Called “The Carolina Connector” or CCX, the terminal will serve as a major regional transportation hub as well as a catalyst for economic growth in the region, according to CSX.
The 450-acre terminal, between the main railroad line and I-95, will be a place where freight containers are transferred between different modes of transportation – for example, trains and trucks – enabling the conversion of long haul freight from highway to rail.
CSX will be investing $150 million towards the project, the majority of the $272 million in funds needed to complete the project. The railroad company is also pursuing infrastructure investment funds that have been proposed in the state of North Carolina’s Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) process.
The intermodal facility will yield numerous economic and public benefits. The project will create short-term jobs during construction and additional positions once the terminal opens, both directly at the facility and indirectly as a result of improved transportation access for local businesses. The terminal will also create transportation savings for businesses in the region and, by shipping more goods by rail, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Once construction on the terminal begins, approximately 250 to 300 short-term construction jobs will be created by the development of the terminal, which is expected to open in 2019. Over time, this development is expected to generate as many as 1,500 additional jobs statewide. Additionally, improved local freight transportation options will help to continue economic growth and attract new and expanded businesses that will contribute to the local community.
CSX is working closely with Johnston County officials and local residents to ensure that this development is positive for the community, as well as the local economy. Throughout this process, CSX will openly communicate with and work with the local community, solicit feedback and incorporate it into the terminal’s design and operation.
CSX is committed to investing $150 million – the majority of funds needed to complete the project. Due to the strategic impact of this critical infrastructure project, CSX is also pursuing infrastructure investment funds that have been proposed in the state of North Carolina’s Strategic Transportation Investment (STI) process.
The intermodal terminal will significantly enhance distribution opportunities for large and small business across the region, and over time, CCX will create $240 million in logistic cost reduction, $32 million in congestion cost savings and $35 million in safety benefits for the state.
Four times more fuel efficient than trucks, rail is the most environmentally-friendly form of land transportation. CCX will reduce highway congestion, improve highway safety, create savings in highway maintenance costs and improve air quality. For example, the carbon dioxide emissions saved in shipping freight by rail instead of truck equals 1.6 million tons (over 30 years), which equates to removing a year’s worth of emissions from nearly 337,000 passenger vehicles.
North Carolina commuters will also experience better traffic conditions. One intermodal train can carry the load of 280 trucks – reducing congestion on NC highways and roads. Fewer trucks on roadways improves road safety and preserves the condition of broadly traveled routes like I-95 and I-85. Ultimately, the project will produce up to $144 million in savings on national highway maintenance costs.
Video CCX Intermodal Rail Terminal : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeRb1nElhIE&feature=youtu.be
This new intermodal terminal will serve as a transfer hub. CCX will connect Eastern North Carolina directly to CSX’s extensive rail network. Containers carrying a broad range of consumer goods – from food to furniture to appliances – will arrive on freight trains from all over the country. These containers will then be sorted and transported by trucks or other trains to specific markets. Similar to passengers catching connecting flights at an airport, freight containers are routed to their final destinations at intermodal hubs.
Intermodal transportation leverages the inherent advantages of both modes of transportation, enabling shippers to utilize the point-to-point short haul flexibility of trucks in addition to the environmental advantages of freight rail, the most fuel-efficient way to move freight over land. These benefits help businesses across the country realize immediate and long-term benefits, including the ability to secure access to capacity, lower freight transportation costs and reduced emissions.
CCX will be equipped with state-of-the-art, sustainable technology and environmentally- friendly equipment to reduce noise and light. For example, electric cranes used at CSX intermodal terminals are almost silent and ultra- efficient, using electric motors to reduce emissions and store energy much like hybrid vehicles.
The proposed terminal would be an important connection in CSX’s $850 million National Gateway partnership, which is creating a more efficient and environmentally-friendly transportation network that allows shippers to take advantage of double-stack containers between Mid-Atlantic ports and Midwest consumers.
CSX has constructed intermodal terminals similar to CCX in North Baltimore, Ohio, and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. There, the terminals have served as catalysts for local economic development as businesses like warehouses and distribution centers have located new facilities near the terminals. CSX’s terminals have also won awards for their environmental stewardship. For example, the Northwest Ohio Trans-Shipment Terminal, a hub similar to CCX, received the 2015 E3 Gold and Silver Award from the Ohio EPA for going beyond routine environmental compliance and showing a commitment to environmental excellence.
CSX has numerous intermodal terminals including locations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Charleston, Dallas, Columbus, Ohio, Central Florida, and Buffalo, NY.
Land acquisition on the project began Thursday.
Chris Johnson, Economic Development Director for Johnston County said, “This is like Selma and Johnston County winning the lottery. This is going to be a shot in the arm for local communities.”
Photos courtesy YouTube