By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell, U.S. Representative Spencer Bachus, and Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield were all on hand to celebrate the opening of the new Norfolk Southern Rail First Intermodal Service facility.
Governor Bentley said, “This facility will create new jobs, not just within the facility itself but also in the surrounding area. 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.”
Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield said, “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.” Canfield said that with freight expected to double and international trade expected to triple by 2020 the facility (which connects Alabama to the Northeast and to Mexico) is also important because it helps companies better manage inbound raw materials and promotes goods produced in the state.
Birmingham Business Alliance Chair Elect and President of AT&T Alabama Fred McCallum said, “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.”
Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman said, “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. 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. 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.”
The Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility in McCalla cost $97.5 million and is located on a 316-acre site adjacent to the Jefferson Metropolitan Park. According to the Alabama Commerce Department it 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.
The Birmingham terminal is the second of five Crescent Corridor terminals to open. The Memphis facility began operations in July and the terminal at Greencastle, Pa., is scheduled to open in January. Construction is under way for a new terminal in Charlotte, as well as expansion of two intermodal terminals in Harrisburg.
Norfolk Southern Corporation’s Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia and serves every major container port in the eastern United States while providing 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.