CSX to Build East Coast Intermodal Hub in North Carolina
Railroad behemoth CSX on Jan. 14 said it would make Johnston County, North Carolina, an East Coast hub for shipping and receiving cargo containers.
The company will build the Carolina Connector, an “intermodal terminal,” on 450 acres land between Selma and Micro. The $272 million hub will create 300 jobs in the short term and could spawn 1,500 jobs across North Carolina in the years to come, CSX said.
Louis Rejal, vice president of strategic infrastructure for CSX, said the company plans to spend $150 million and is looking to North Carolina’s Strategic Transportation Investment program for an additional $100 million.
The terminal will draw and reroute containers from East Coast trains and trucks and from North Carolina’s ports in Morehead City and Wilmington. Large robotic arms will unload cargo containers from freight trains and place them onto tractor-trailer rigs bound for their final destination, or vice versa. The company expects the hub to handle everything from agricultural products to consumer goods.
“It’s essentially an inland port,” said Chris Johnson, Johnston County’s director of economic development. “It’s absolutely massive. I can’t wait for people to travel up and down I-95 and see this facility and wonder, ‘What in the world is that?’ It’s that impressive.”
CSX points to the Northwest Ohio Intermodal Transfer Hub as the best glimpse into what Johnston County can expect. That terminal, which opened in 2011, handles 900,000 containers each year. Local leaders think the Carolina Connector could surpass that number.
“When you look at our community on a map, you see that everything a facility like this needs is right here,” Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver said in a news release issued by Johnston County’s Economic Development Office. “This is a really good omen for all of eastern North Carolina.”
The timing of the project couldn’t be better for Johnston County’s Interstate 95 corridor, county leaders said. Board of Commissioners Chairman Tony Braswell said he thinks distribution centers will descend on Johnston, drawn by the ease of shipping offered by the CSX hub.
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|By Drew Jackson|
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
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