Duluth-Superior ripe for intermodal

Minnesota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2003  | November 2003 issue

The Twin Ports handle a sufficient volume of freight moving to Chicago to sustain a rail-based intermodal terminal, according to a report by the Transportation and Logistics Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Intermodal systems are the fastest growing segment of the railroad industry, filling a niche between trucking and rail carload service and offering significant savings to shippers.

The study identified four rail yards that would be suitable. The preferred site ranked in the report is the Canadian Railway Yard in Superior, as it is the most modern of the yards suggested and lies along the most direct route to Chicago and has room for expansion.

The study also suggested that there is sufficient intermodal freight originating in Ontario to restart marine intermodal service between Thunder Bay and Duluth-Superior, with some changes to previous shipping rules and fees. Service was discontinued in 1996, largely because taxes on the Canadian barge made it uneconomical.

Kathy Cobb