Canadian National Railway Co. announced a plan to construct an intermodal ramp at its freight yard in Joliet, Ill., to offer import/export customers key access to numerous Chicagoland distribution centers.

Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, said: "The Joliet-Will County area of greater Chicago has one of the highest concentrations of distribution centers in the United States. With a new intermodal ramp for container traffic at our Joliet Yard, CN will offer importers and exporters improved access to this vital trade hub with the fastest combined ocean and rail transit times from and to Asia via the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, B.C.

"CN expects to offer daily west coast service starting in June 2013, with transit times of approximately 100 hours between the west coast and Joliet."

The full-service intermodal ramp will efficiently accommodate the transfer of containers between rail and truck. A grain transloading facility will also operate at the site to support export opportunities.

CN is the only railroad directly linking all three coasts to the Greater Chicago area distribution centers, including vessel calls originating in Europe, Asia and South America.

Ruest said: "CN's Joliet intermodal terminal is another example of how we are giving our customers improved supply chain efficiencies and better access to global markets."