Schneider National Inc. opened its Ohio Valley intermodal facility at the Marion Ohio Industrial Center on June 5th, saying it is the “first truckload carrier to offer this unique solution.” Schneider will operate the intermodal ramp in Marion and CSX will provide four trains, allowing departures six days a week in each direction. The dedicated intermodal service will cut up to one day off existing transit times for freight originating in the Ohio Valley, said Schneider.
Through its connection with Kansas City Southern railroad, Schneider will be able to interchange at Kansas City and provide access to Mexico and the Pacific Northwest. “We won’t see that on day two,” said Scott Arves, president of transportation for Schneider, “but maybe on day 32.” Taking a more serious tone, he said that following the start up in June, Schneider planned to increase volumes through the facility and should be at a substantial level by September. He told shippers present at the opening that Schneider and its partners had made a substantial commitment to serve their shipping needs and encouraged them to support that effort with their freight.
Marion, near Cincinnati and Columbus, provides ready access to a number of existing Schneider customers, said company officials. The Marion Ohio Industrial Center offered a large undeveloped space along a rail spur that connects to a CSX mainline track and has provisions to add access for additional intermodal cranes to accommodate growth.
Asked why Schneider didn’t elect to move into the Neomodal intermodal facility located in Navarre, Ohio, company officials reiterated the direct access to and east-west mainline and proximity to an existing customer base were driving factors even though facilities had to be constructed for Schneider, a process that they said moved quickly but still involved a number of months for negotiation and construction.
Just off the CSX mainline, in close proximity to the Schneider operation is one of Whirlpool’s largest production facilities, plants for Boise Cascade and Pillsbury. The company said it will be targeting opportunities within 50 to 100-miles of the facility.
James Hertwig, president of CSX Intermodal, welcomed the opportunity to team with Schneider and, when asked about rail performance, he expressed confidence that the CSX intermodal connections in a triangle from Florida to New York and west to Chicago are solid. Some of the figures being published are not the most current, he pointed out, and train speeds and on-time performance have improved. He said that even when everyone was focused on the Union Pacific in the West, their performance in certain corridors was not as bad as what was generally reported.
Intermodal containers or trailers moving through Kansas City will be drayed cross-town to the Kansas City Southern where they can take advantage of the KCS north-south connections. Schneider expects to see significant opportunities develop through this connection with Mexico. Schneider has established operations there, and the intermodal connection from a Schneider-run ramp at Marion into or out of Mexico is expected to grow.