The opening coincides with completion of the first building inRGLP's truck-to-rail transfer section, a 407,000-sf facility forHyperlogistics Group Inc. The park is divided into several sectionson either side of the airport. "The intermodal yard will drivedevelopment in this part of Columbus for the next 15 years andmaybe beyond. It is really a big part of the puzzle," says CurtBerlin, a broker with NAI Ohio Equities LLC in Columbus whorepresented Hyper Logistics in negotiations for its property.

|

Berlin tells GlobeSt.com the terminal's importance will bemagnified by the railroad's anticipated late 2009 completion oftrack improvements that will allow double-stacking of containersfor transport from the Port of Norfolk to Columbus and on toChicago. At present, tunnel heights and insufficiently reinforcedoverpasses limit train loads to single-decking. The railroadexpects the doubling of capacity to significantly reduce both thecost and time of overland shipping. The reductions will helpNorfolk compete with West Coast ports for Asian imports bycompensating for the additional time and expense to ship goodsthrough the Panama Canal to the East Coast.

|

Distributors that locate near the terminal can also saveadditional time at their end. According to Hyperlogisticsco-founder Geoff Manack, relocating his business near the terminalwill enable it to ship customers' products within 72 hours of theirarrival in port, shaving a full day off the previous turnaroundtime. The terminal's first phase adds about 100,000 containertransfers a year to Norfolk Southern's regional capacity. Futureexpansion could lift the total to 400,000 transfers annually.According to Lou Jannazo, chief of project development for the OhioRail Development Commission, the state's existing intermodalterminals are at capacity, primarily because it costs $50 to $150less to ship a container by rail than by truck, with thedifferential increasing with the cost of gas.

|

Despite the claimed advantages of intermodal and apparent needfor greater capacity, RGLP has been slow to take off. Built from aformer Air Force base, the park has several million sf of existingspace left by the military, much of it still available. But JimClark, senior vice president of Columbus operations forIndianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp., says activity has beenpicking up. In addition to the Hyperlogistics deal, Whirlpool Corp.recently signed for 632,000 sf, taking the project's last availableexisting modern spec space.

|

Duke is developing the logistics park in concert with theColumbus Regional Airport Authority and the locally based CapitolSquare Ltd. Clark speculates that prospective tenants and buyershave been waiting for the terminal to open and track improvementsto be made before jumping in for new projects. But he has no doubtneed will eventually overcome resistance as companies recognize thevalue of locating near the intermodal terminal.

|

Another railroad company, CSX Corp. of Jacksonville, FL, appearsto agree. It plans to build a $113 million terminal a few milesnorth in Ovetz, OH that could handle up to 500,000 containertransfers annually. That project, combined with additional proposedtrack improvements by both CSX and Norfolk Southern, would giveColumbus more reliable links to other East Coast ports, includingthose in New Jersey.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.