Indiana Rail Road intermodal terminal in Indy keeps growing
The Indiana Rail Road Co. is continuing to expand its intermodal terminal in Indianapolis. INRD is in the midst of adding a six-acre container yard, which will allow the company to store about 1,000 empty shipping containers for use by customers. The project comes just months after the railroad completed an expansion of the facility, and CEO Dewayne Swindall said the entire effort is the result of a $6.5 million investment.
Swindall told Inside INdiana Business the results of the expansion, which was completed in December, have been better than expected.
“We’re lucky, and we’re located in a great geographical area of the Midwest, where there’s lots of growth and lots of agricultural needs to get to market, especially in the export market,” said Swindall. “And what better way to do that than to run it in the intermodal supply chain that gives the customers and the traders options of going either East Coast and West Coast.”
Swindall said the goal of the expansion is to build a supply chain base that can accommodate not only the current needs of shippers, but also meet growth that is expected in the industry.
The Indianapolis site was developed in 2013 and was built to handle about 40,000 containers annually. Swindall said the expansion allows the railroad company to double that number.
“And that’s going both to the West Coast of North America and the East Coast of North America now. So, it’s diverse. It’s spread out [and] increases, obviously, the geographical footprint…to be able to source the container usage for the customers and just provides better options and more shipping lanes to be able to reach.”
Swindall said the addition of the container yard provides efficiencies for both his company and it customers. Having empty containers on-site allows customers to load the containers in Indy rather than having a container trucked to their location, loaded, then trucked back to the railroad facility.
“It really tightens up that supply chain ordering process,” he said. “When you think about, ‘Hey, do you have empty containers available for me to load?’ We always have those on hand versus waiting in a reservation system, allowing them to have to wait on an empty container to come available. These are always available on hand.”
The container yard will also have the capacity to hold an equal number of chassis needed for the containers. Swindall said the project is also part of a continuing effort to make better use of the land, which had previously served as a tire recycling area and scrap yard before the railroad took it over.
“We’re just continuing to clean it up and improve the looks from something that was not very friendly to something that’s more aesthetic from an industrial standpoint. So it’s a good impact that way.”
The container yard is expected to be complete by the end of the month. The expanded intermodal terminal will employ about 50 people. The company has about 130 employees overall, most of which are in Indiana, with a few in Illinois.
Looking ahead, Swindall said the future is bright for the Indiana Rail Road Co., particularly because of the diversity in the materials that it handles. He said the company will continue make investments in infrastructure in order to maintain safety along the rail lines.