Columbus domino falls as CSX aims to reduce role of key Ohio intermodal terminal

RELATED TOPICS: CSX | EAST | INTERMODAL | OPERATIONS
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CSX Transportation is reducing the number of domestic and international intermodal destinations served from its terminal in Columbus, Ohio.

CSX told customers on Oct. 12 that it would be dropping outbound service from Columbus to nearly two dozen locations. Only a handful of inbound lanes are being eliminated, the railroad said.

The announcements come on the heels of reductions in intermodal service to Detroit as well as Louisville, Ky., as CSX prepares to scale back container sorting operations at its hub in North Baltimore, Ohio.

The terminal opened in 2011 as the linchpin of a new intermodal strategy. The $175-million Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal was designed to support CSX’s hub-and-spoke approach to serving smaller intermodal markets.

By sorting container shipments at North Baltimore, CSX could build the density required to provide new or more frequent service to places such as Louisville, Detroit, and Columbus.

But the terminal’s sorting hub days are numbered as part of CSX’s shift to precision scheduled railroading under CEO E. Hunter Harrison, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Officially, CSX says it is reviewing operations at the terminal but that it has no plans to close the facility along the former Baltimore & Ohio main line.
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