Port of New Orleans celebrates opening of intermodal railyard

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Intermodal News  

New rail facility improves efficiency of container shipmentsThe Port of New Orleans was joined by two of its rail partners in dedicating the Napoleon Intermodal Rail Yard, a new facility permitting efficient ship to rail transfer of cargo containers at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.
The rail yard provides a new link for NAFTA commerce. Its dedication was announced as US President George Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon meet in New Orleans for the annual North American Leadership Summit.
CN, with a rail network spanning the US Midwest and Canada, is the first Class 1 railroad to serve the new Port of New Orleans rail yard via its switching agent, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. CN is currently hauling about 350 to 400 containers per week using the facility, which is equipped with four 1,700-foot-long tracks with concrete pads enabling cranes to transfer containers between trucks and rail cars.
The New Orleans Public Belt provides access to the Port of New Orleans for the CN and five other railroads. New Orleans Terminal is the terminal operator that leases the intermodal railyard from the Port. New Orleans Terminal and Ports America each operate half of the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, where the containers that are shipped into the rail terminal are loaded or unloaded onto ships. The International Longshoremen’s Association provides labor for both the intermodal terminal and the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.
The Port, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, New Orleans Terminal and Ports America have all contributed to the repairs needed at the intermodal yard.
“The new rail yard represents an efficient way to connect our water and rail transportation networks, and CN’s service to the facility will benefit shippers across the continent,” said Gary LaGrange, president and chief executive officer of the Port of New Orleans. “We are happy to have a partner with the expertise and history of CN to help pioneer this new service, and we look forward to working with our other railroad partners to expand the use of the terminal.”
With six of the nation’s seven Class 1 railroads meeting at the Port of New Orleans, LaGrange said the port is “truly America’s premier transshipment hub.”
CN has a Y-shaped network extending from Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast to Halifax on Canada’s East Coast, with a trunk running down the Mississippi Valley through Chicago, Memphis to New Orleans. CN already handles steel imports and other cargo originating from the Port of New Orleans, but CN’s use of the intermodal terminal represents a significant push to move container cargo through New Orleans.
Cargo containers – 20- or 40-foot-long metal boxes – are specifically designed for easy transfer between different transportation modes, such as marine vessels, railroads and trucks. New facilities such as the Napoleon Intermodal Terminal bring an additional element of convenience because they are located near the terminal where ships load and unload containers.
The Napoleon Avenue Intermodal Railyard is a public rail terminal allowing any of the six railroads with a presence in New Orleans to use it to link to the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal. The container terminal has an annual capacity of 366,000 containers and weekly ocean services on multiple shipping lines to Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the East and West Coasts of South America and Central America.
“As an operator of the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal we have a vested interest in maintaining the utmost standards of customer service and convenience for businesses who want to take advantage of the facilities and shipping line services available in New Orleans,” said Terry Laughlin, Assistant Vice President of New Orleans Terminals.
The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad switches railcars that originate or are destined for the Port of New Orleans, including the railcars that CN will be using for its new intermodal service.
“The New Orleans Public Belt conne

American Journal of Transportation