CP, KCS: First Lázaro Cárdenas-Chicago Interline Service

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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The first dedicated intermodal train between Lázaro Cárdenas and the U.S. Midwest arrived at Canadian Pacific’s (CP) Bensenville Yard in the Chicago area on March 8, reported CP, which worked with merger partner Kansas City Southern (KCS) on an interline basis for the move.

Total transit time from vessel arrival at Lázaro to train arrival in Chicago was seven days. The service, CP said, “was born out of the need to avoid excessive delays due to the unprecedented and ongoing supply chain challenges affecting North America’s West Coast.”

CP reported that Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC)—the U.S.-Mexico-Canada rail network formed by the proposed CP-KCS merger (see map below)—“would make the investments necessary to offer regular Lázaro Cárdenas to Chicago service.”

“This Mexico-to-Midwest train is a proof of concept and a sign of things to come if a combined Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) network is approved by the Surface Transportation Board (STB),” CP President and CEO Keith Creel said. (See STB’s procedural schedule for the CP-KCS merger below.) “With STB approval, CPKC will work with our customers and invest in new infrastructure and train services to unlock the full potential of the combined network to offer unmatched supply chain alternatives and benefits compared to other rail options through congested ports and a real alternative to highway-clogging trucks. I would envision creating a new Mexico Midwest Express interline service that could deliver all of these benefits.”

STB Procedural Schedule for CP-KCS Merger Proposal Review:

October 29, 2021: Application filed.

November 26, 2021: Board notice of acceptance of Application to be published in the Federal Register.

December 13, 2021: Notices of intent to participate in this proceeding due.

December 28, 2021: Proposed Safety Integration Plan (SIP) to be filed with STB’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

January 12, 2022: Descriptions of anticipated responsive, including inconsistent, applications due. Petitions for waiver or clarification with respect to such applications due.

February 22, 2022: Responsive environmental information and environmental verified statements for responsive, including inconsistent, applicants due.

February 28, 2022: Comments, protests, requests for conditions, and any other evidence and argument in opposition to the Application due. This includes any comments from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Responsive, including inconsistent, applications due.

March 30, 2022: Notice of acceptance of responsive, including inconsistent, applications, if any, published in the Federal Register.

April 22, 2022: Responses to comments, protests, requests for conditions, and other opposition due, including to DOJ and USDOT filings. Rebuttal in support of the Application due. Responses to responsive, including inconsistent, applications due.

May 23, 2022: Rebuttals in support of responsive, including inconsistent, applications due.

July 1, 2022: Final briefs due. (Note: “The Board will also determine the page limits for final briefs in a later decision after the record has been more fully developed.”)

TBD: Public hearing (if necessary). (Note: “The Board will decide whether to conduct a public hearing in a later decision after the record has been more fully developed.”)

TBD: Service date of final decision. (Note: “49 U.S.C. § 11325(b)(3) provides that the Board must issue its final decision within 90 days of the close of the evidentiary record and that evidentiary proceedings be completed within one year of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register [Nov. 26, 2021]. However, under NEPA, the Board may not issue a final decision until after the required environmental review is complete. In the event the EIS process is not able to be concluded in sufficient time for the Board to meet the 90-day provision set forth in § 11325(b)(3), the Board will issue a final decision as soon as possible after that process is complete.”)

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