Saturday, October 19, 2013

New Intermodal Freight Terminal and Logistics Park Opened by Rail Cargo Giant

Distribution Centre to Handle Pacific Ports Container Traffic
Shipping News Feature

US – Almost four years to the day since Warren Buffett made one of his much loved ‘big bets’ and took a punt on taking over Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. including the BNSF Railway, for a cool $44 billion, the second largest rail freight company in North America formally opened its latest showcase, the Kansas City intermodal centre and logistics park, designed to handle up to one and a half million cargo containers shipping in annually.

It is proposed that the 440+ Acre site which accommodates the intermodal centre will eventually be expanded to the full 1,500+ containing the logistics park and already the site is home to a grain distribution centre aimed at reloading containers for the trip back to Asia having been imported from the Pacific coastal ports. The site fulfils the plans of Matt Rose, Chairman and CEO of BNSF since 2002, a Kansas native and who announced the current scheme as part of a $2.4 billion infrastructure upgrade back in 2006. The BNSF boss commented:

“Twenty years ago, developers would have been focused on utilities and tax abatements. Today, it’s access to transportation and railroads that drive that upfront. Most of our highways were built in the 1960s and 1970s, and there’s been little new investment. This intermodal facility allows for more tonnes to be moved by railroads and also provides more work for truckers, it’s a win-win.”

BNSF will close its current Kansas City facility at Argentine which handled a third of a million boxes last year, two thirds of its work load has already been transferred and the rest will switch in the next couple of months and the venture should provide thousands more local jobs when fully functioning to add to the two and a half thousand which BNSF already provides in Kansas City.

The opening came just as the US federal government went back to work after their latest sixteen day spat and those present at the opening centre were able to reflect that financing for the BNSF project was a result of Buffett’s investment rather than relying on government spending, a point Mr Rose was keen to emphasise.

Photo: One of the five giant electric overhead gantry cranes currently installed on the site shifts a 40’ box.