UP opens huge intermodal hub near Chicago
The Union Pacific Railroad on Monday officially inaugurated its $370 million intermodal terminal in Joliet, Ill., part of what will be the nation's largest inland port.
The UP terminal is in the middle of a massive logistics hub being developed by CenterPoint Properties adjacent to CenterPoint's intermodal center in Elwood where the BNSF Railroad operates.
The Elwood logistics park is utilized by shippers and logistics providers such as Wal-Mart, Georgia Pacific, Sanyo Logistics, DSC Logistics, Maersk and California Cartage.
Together the two parks cover more than 6,000 acres and offer more than 30 million square feet of industrial facilities. The development is located on a former Army arsenal.
The 785-acre UP transfer facility can handle up to 500,000 containers and domestic trailers per year. It is highly automated and located about five miles from Interstate 80 and seven miles from I-55. It is second in size to the UP's intermodal hub near the Port of Long Beach, which has capacity for 700,000 lifts per year.
UP officials estimate the facility will create 1,300 jobs, and lead to 4,500 other jobs in the industrial park and 3,000 new trucking jobs to shuttle cargo to and from distribution centers.
The first phase of construction included four 8,000-foot tracks capable of loading/unloading 104 'double-stack' rail cars and six 8,000-foot tracks for sorting cars by destination. An additional six tracks are available to stage trains prior to loading and unloading. Containers will be moved by four large straddle cranes and one rubber-tired mobile picker equipped with Global Positioning Systems to increase efficiency.
The yard has spots for more than 4,000 trailers and containers.
Gate systems will allow trucks to be cleared into the terminal in 30 to 90 seconds, according to UP.
The opening ceremony was attended by members of Illinois congressional delegation.