Wilmington port and CSX to offer direct daily intermodal service to Charlotte

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An aerial view of the Port of Wilmington, N.C., which will begin rail-intermodal service to Charlotte, N.C., beginning July 28.
North Carolina State Ports Authority
WILMINGTON, N.C. — North Carolina port officials are enthusiastic about a new scheduled intermodal service between the port of Wilmington and Charlotte, N.C.

CSX will begin the Queen City Express on July 28, offering two-day service to the port authority's Charlotte Intermodal Terminal, according to Cliff Pyron, the senior manager for external communication.

“The Queen City Express is broadening our reach into the Charlotte market,” he said. It will also improve access to other cities such as Raleigh and Greensboro.

Pyron says the port's objective is to establish itself as the port of choice for state shippers. That means carving a niche out of the traffic flowing to Wilmington's much larger neighbors, Norfolk, Va., to the north, and Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., to the south.

“It's about reclaiming North Carolina's businesses. We want North Carolina's businesses to use North Carolina's ports where it makes sense,” Pyron said. “If we can provide a more efficient, cheaper option on the rail side, that's going to be appealing.”

It's only been in the past year that container volumes through the port have grown enough to make rail service feasible. Pyron says that Wilmington averages 300,000 containers per year. Officials expect the new activity will increase volume to 500,000 in fiscal 2018.

“We haven't had intermodal rail service here in over 30 years,” Pyron says. “Finally we're starting to see the volumes, and we have the services in place to necessitate intermodal rail service.”

Pyron says the port of Wilmington has invested $150 million in state funds to improve port facilities, including a larger turning basin, and two large container cranes on order from a company in China. The port can now serve all but the very largest container vessels in service right now.

“The carriers have seen we're expanding here at Wilmington,” Pyron says. “They've seen what we're doing, and they've made those commitments to us.”

The commitments come from three vessel alliances in the Asian market, and two from Europe. Their vessels will make weekly calls at the port.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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