No Rail? No Problem.

By: South Shore Line Last Updated: November 30, 2010

trains.jpgDo tracks stop short of your business? Consider shipping and receiving products via the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad thanks to transloading.

“With transload, customers can take advantage of the savings freight rail provides over truck, even if they don’t have a track that goes to their facilities,” said Chuck Compton, Vice President, Business Development.

“The product can be delivered the last mile or the first mile to or from the customer by truck.”

South Shore has a number of transloading options. It partners with E&L Paving Corporation, an asphalt contractor and longtime customer, to offer a rail/truck transloading facility at the CSS Belfast Siding in La Porte, Ind.

Another valuable partner, Bulk Transit Corporation, currently transports PVC resin from Belfast to 15 to 20 industries in Northern and Northwestern Indiana. This summer, E&L Paving and South Shore jointly funded a project to expand the capacity of the Belfast facility. Previously, the facility could only hold four cars at a time, and now, it has the capacity for 25. Andy Laurent, Manager of Growth Initiatives, said the expansion allows the operation to be more efficient and provides opportunities to expand business with plastics companies.

“We can hold a lot more cars, and they’re accessible at all times,” he said. “We hope to start seeing some new product lines and new customers using that facility in the near future.” Laurent said Belfast gives its competition transload facilities in Chicago — a run for their money. Demurrage and storage fees other railroads charge are much higher than South Shore’s rates, and the competition also charges a higher franchise fee on each car.

“From a cost standpoint, I think this facility lines up very well with our competition further to the west,” he said. “Also, it’s much more efficient for the trucker if the product is moving somewhere further away from Chicago, and they can avoid traveling through Chicago or Gary.” Compton agreed.

“As more people see what’s out there, we think we’ll have more people want to take advantage of transloading,” he said, “especially if it affords someone a competitive advantage. We have high hopes for doing a lot of good things at Belfast.”