Norfolk Southern (NS) will reopen its intermodal terminal in Greencastle, Pa., this September to boost capacity and “help ease supply-chain congestion that has slowed the flow of commerce across all modes of the U.S. transportation sector,” the railroad reported on Aug. 13.
NS is planning a gradual phase-in of business at the Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility. Effective Sept. 10, it will start with a lane of domestic intermodal traffic that currently moves between NS intermodal terminals in Memphis, Tenn., and Rutherford, Pa.
NS opened the facility on Jan. 21, 2013 as part of its Crescent Corridor initiative, “a public-private partnership designed to convert freight from highway to rail to ease congested roadways and reduce carbon emissions, while creating opportunities for jobs and economic development,” according to NS. The Class I railroad also built intermodal terminals in Birmingham, Ala.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Memphis as part of a 2,500-mile rail corridor from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast.
NS said it halted Greencastle operations in 2019 “for business reasons,” but left open the possibility of resuming operations if market conditions changed.
“With strong growth in volume driven by e-commerce and a recovering economy, we believe the timing is right to bring our Greencastle facility back online,” NS Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw said.
The facility is expected to reduce terminal congestion and improve network fluidity across Pennsylvania. It has the capacity for an estimated 100,000 container lifts annually. The first phase of traffic is slated to generate about 50,000 lifts, NS said.
In related news, NS Chairman, President and CEO Jim Squires on Aug. 6 responded to Surface Transportation Board Chairman Marty Oberman’s July 22 letter to Class I railroad CEOs requesting information on the extent of congestion at key U.S. container terminals and on their railroads’ policies and practices for assessing container demurrage fees. Oberman cited reports of “substantial charges being levied by the railroads for container storage at these terminals.” Squires addressed container congestion and storage fee policies at NS’s 10 largest international intermodal facilities.