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North Dakota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2004  | November 2004 issue

In September, Bismarck officials unveiled plans for a $7 million intermodal transportation facility to be located on city land near the airport.

The Northern Plains Commerce Center will receive, ship and transfer goods using 40-foot containers that can be transported via truck, rail cars and air freight. Plans also call for a technology and industrial park and a foreign trade zone that may eventually employ hundreds.

Expected to be operational in fall 2005, the transportation center will be the first in North Dakota to handle shipments for all modes of transit. The closest intermodal facility, in Dilworth, Minn., nearly 200 miles to the east, does not handle air-freight transfers. While there are container shipping centers in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Butte and Billings, Mont.; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Bismarck-area shippers must first get their goods to a facility that will load them into a container and then move the containers to a port or distribution center.

Benefits of the center will be reaped by farmers and businesses alike, officials said, allowing goods to reach global markets more efficiently. The projected business radius for the center is about 250 miles.

Kathy Cobb