Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley joined federal, state, and local officials and business leaders for the opening of the Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility in McCalla.
The $97.5 million facility, located on a 316-acre site adjacent to the Jefferson Metropolitan Park, is a critical component of Norfolk Southern's multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative to establish an efficient, high-capacity intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast.
"There is no other intermodal rail public-private project today that compares with the magnitude of the Crescent Corridor in terms of job creation or environmental benefits," Moorman said. "Because of its strategic location and the growing intermodal demands throughout the country, the Birmingham terminal will serve as a major gateway for truck-competitive freight moving between the South and Northeast and enable NS to launch new service from Birmingham to the Northeast and to Mexico.
"Today's opening is the result of the efforts of many whose work together will continue as the Crescent Corridor develops, and we express our appreciation to Governor Bentley and his administration for their support of this project, which will be a catalyst for creating jobs and economic development opportunities," Moorman continued. "We look forward to continuing our work with the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Jefferson County Commissioners, the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, the Birmingham MPO, and the Birmingham Business Alliance."
"This facility will create new jobs, not just within the facility itself but also in the surrounding area," said Governor Bentley. "Intermodal facilities often help attract distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and other industries. Having Norfolk Southern here will benefit the surrounding region by providing a catalyst for more new jobs. I want to thank the leaders of Norfolk Southern, our state and local economic developers and all others who have worked together to make this project a reality."
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the announcement was especially timely because by the year 2020, it is expected that U.S. freight traffic will increase 100 percent and international trade will increase by 200 percent. "The location of this intermodal center in Alabama by one of our premiere economic development partners gives the state a strategic logistics advantage to capitalize on these increases and promotes the goals of our economic development plan," he said.
Canfield said the announcement is also important because it helps companies better manage inbound raw materials and promotes goods produced in the state.
Fred McCallum, Birmingham Business Alliance Chair-Elect and president of AT&T Alabama, added, "Norfolk Southern's intermodal facility will certainly support existing businesses in our region. But over the long run, we know the facility will also help bring new businesses to the region, making the growth potential for Alabama even greater."
The Birmingham terminal is the second of four new Crescent Corridor terminals to open. The Memphis facility began operations in July, and the Birmingham regional facility's sister terminal at Greencastle, Pa., is scheduled to open in January. Construction began earlier this year for a new terminal in Charlotte. In addition, significant expansions of two existing intermodal terminals in Harrisburg are underway.
NS constructed the main administrative building to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification standards. The facility also will use the latest in gate and terminal automation technology, which shortens the waiting time for trucks entering the terminal, and improves truck driver productivity and air quality. Additionally, state-of-the-art low emission cranes and hostler tractors will operate within the terminal.
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.
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