CSX Rail – Economic Developments
CCX – Intermodal in Rocky Mount & Queen City Express to Wilmington
CSX Railroad has been busy lately in the State of North Carolina. Joe Horton, Terminal Manager at CSX Intermodal Terminal in Charlotte reported to the Charlotte World Trade Association about its plans for substantial growth that will enhance the opportunities for significant economic development in conjunction with its corporate growth plans for the next 25 years.
In July 2016, the state of North Carolina, the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and CSX proudly announced Rocky Mount, North Carolina, as the home for a new intermodal rail terminal known as the Carolina Connector, or CCX. This $272M+ critical infrastructure project will serve as a major transportation hub in the Southeast, and a catalyst for substantial economic growth throughout the state of North Carolina.
Horton described the partnership between North Carolina and CSX that has developed over its 150+ years of service. He went on to say that “CSX eager to play an even larger role in N.C. economy in coming years.”
This new $272M investment in N.C.’s critical infrastructure is a transformational opportunity to attract more advanced manufacturing companies to the east side of the state. Their state-of-the-art facility will improve North Carolina’s economic competitiveness and bring more than 1,500 jobs to the state.
In addition, this new facility will enable companies to convert freight shipments to rail at this new terminal to eliminate more than 16 million truck miles annually from heavily-traveled North Carolina highways, the equivalent of eliminating 270,000 truck trips from the roads each year. This will consequently reduce congestion, improve road safety and preserve roadway conditions. In total, CCX is expected to save the state $16 million in pavement maintenance savings.
At the same time, this Carolina Connector (CCX) will be the most environmentally friendly way to move goods over land. It is four times more fuel efficient than trucks. In fact, one intermodal train can carry the load of 280 trucks. Converting freight from highway to rail reduces emissions and improves air quality. Intermodal operations at CCX are estimated to reduce CO2 emissions in the state by 655,000 tons – the equivalent of taking 138,000 cars off the road.
The CCX will capture a vibrant Raleigh market and provides hub connectivity in 100+ lanes. Its initial build will serve 186 lanes, 265,000 loads with 60% expected for local service and 40% for connectivity to other regions. The full build out is expected to provide expansion potential on proposed footprint up to 500,000 loads.
Horton then moved to his special announcement for the Charlotte region. A new intermodal rail link will begin this month between the North Carolina State Ports Authority’s Port of Wilmington and the CSX intermodal terminal in Charlotte. Horton says “it is being touted as a game-changer. It is called the Queen City Express!”
North State Ports Authority Executive Director Paul J. Cozza noted that this will be Wilmington’s first intermodal service in 30 years, terming the offering “fantastic.”
Cozza expects that the Queen City Express “is really going to enhance North Carolina’s connections with the rest of the world.”
The new shuttle service is to transport double-stacked containers on existing CSX tracks between the two points, creating a reduced cost for cargo destined for the greater Charlotte region and out into the global marketplace.
CSX is one of three major railroads serving the East Coast region. Norfolk Southern and the Canadian Pacific Railroad are its competition, although Norfolk Southern is its major competitor in the Southeast USA. These three are all Class 1 railroads hauling freight throughout the east-west service East of the Mississippi River. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, CSX owns about 21,000 miles of track.