The $97.5 million facility, located on a 316-acre site adjacent to the Jefferson Metropolitan Park, 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.
"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," said CEO Wick Moorman. "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."
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the announcement was especially timely because by the year 2020, it is expected that U.S. freight traffic will increase 100% and international trade will increase by 200%.
The Birmingham terminal is the second of four new Crescent Corridor terminals to open. The Memphis facility began operations in July, and the Birmingham regional facility's sister terminal at Greencastle, Pa., is scheduled to open in January. Construction began earlier this year for a new terminal in Charlotte. In addition, significant expansions of two existing intermodal terminals in Harrisburg are under way.
NS constructed the main administrative building to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standards. The facility also will use the latest in gate and terminal automation technology, which shortens the waiting time for trucks entering the terminal, and improves truck driver productivity and air quality. Additionally, state-of-the-art low emission cranes and hostler tractors will operate within the terminal.