For the first time since the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opened in 1970, the Lake Michigan port will have an onsite, dedicated rail-switching service. Norfolk Southern has been selected to begin providing switching services for customers of Indiana’s oldest port beginning in February.

‘We’re excited to partner with Norfolk Southern to improve rail service at our port,’ said Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana. ‘This partnership creates several opportunities for our customers to grow business, including implementing unit trains where appropriate, improving switching services inside the port, and working closely with other carriers when opportunities present themselves. Having a world-class Class I carrier with a major rail yard, equipment and crews located immediately adjacent to us will create significant advantages for our port customers.’

In 2010, the Ports of Indiana submitted a request for proposals from a variety of rail carriers in an effort to improve rail service for current port customers and increase business opportunities involving rail shipments through the port. After an extensive review of several proposals from around the country, the Ports of Indiana selected Norfolk Southern to be the dedicated rail-switching service provider for the port.

‘We’ve been providing rail service at the Port of Indiana for years, and this was a great opportunity for us to expand our business to meet the needs of port customers,’ said Steve Evans, Norfolk Southern’s assistant vice president for ports and international business. ‘This agreement not only improves daily rail service to our port customers, but it will also increase operational efficiencies at both Norfolk Southern and the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, making it be a win-win for all parties involved.’ The new arrangement still provides direct connectivity to the Indiana Harbor Belt and other rail carriers.

‘Our current rail users provided significant feedback on how we could further improve service at the port,’ said Peter Laman, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. ‘After reviewing a number of high quality proposals, we believed Norfolk Southern could provide immediate solutions to a number of those issues and they made it clear to us they were interested in helping us identify opportunities that could add new rail volume at the port.’