A plan to launch an express route for refrigerated rail cars between Florida and northern Indiana is moving forward. Developer Port Logistics is set to build a 130,000 square-foot cold storage operation at the Port of Tampa, which would ship farm goods between Florida and a future offloading facility in LaPorte County.
The groundwork has been laid for the express route for a number of years. In 2013, CSX Corp. designated the INland Logistics Port in Kingsbury a "Select Site," the first of its kind in Indiana. The property, which is just south of the city of La Porte, encompasses 800 acres in the town’s industrial park.
LaPorte County Office of Economic Development Dave Christian called the Florida development plan a "critical next step in getting us closer to having unitary, express trains that can run between Tampa Bay and Kingsbury carrying fruits and vegetables from Central America for distribution in the Midwest and then returning to Florida with Indiana meats and poultry."
In a statement, LaPorte County Attorney Shaw Friedman calls the longterm plans a "complex project with a lot of moving parts." He continued, "having the bookend built in Tampa Bay is the next critical step and we are pleased that we are one step closer to that long desired goal of express refrigerated train service to and from Kingsbury. Even as we work toward that ‘home run’ project, the county has been successful at pounding out singles and doubles with some of the smaller, job-creating projects that have been announced at KIP in the last year. We’re going to keep at it."
The Kingsbury railroad tracks are currently undergoing improvements by two Illinois-based companies, which would create a new rail yard in the park.