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Freight Yard Logistics-logistics systems and facilities change

Article is below…

?Explain why logistics systems and facilities change.
?Describe future challenges for logistics providers relative to SCM.
?Explain the advantages of intermodal logistics parks.

Freight Yard Logistics

Read the article below that looks at BNSF’s freight yard outside Chicago and then answer the following question:

What logistical advantages does BNSF have with this type of freight yard?

Assignment Expectations
Include at least three advantages. Also consider discussing several disadvantages. Provide adequate backing and good logic. The paper should be 3-4 pages. Use the same format as your Module 1 paper, citing at least three different sources of information.

Blaszak, M. W., (2003). The 21st century freight yard: BNSF’s Logistics Park near Chicago. Trains, Milwaukee, 63(1), 18-20.


Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s new intermodal terminal, Logistics Park-Chicago, combines intermodal, vehicle and carload services with transloading and warehousing. The facility is 1.5 miles long and a mile wide, encompassing 380 acres.

New facility combines intermodal, vehicle, and carload services with transloading and warehousing

Want to see a 21st century rail freight yard? Go to Joliet, Ill., 35 miles southwest of Chicago, and head on south 5 more miles along Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s former Santa Fe transcontinental main line. There you’ll find Logistics Park-Chicago, BNSF’s new intermodal terminal.

After installing 37 miles of track and 200,000 cubic yards of concrete, and spending about $240 million, BNSF took a day off on October 14 to showcase the facility before opening it the following day.

BNSF Chairman and CEO Matt Rose calls it “one of the most exciting logistics concepts … since the intermodal hub center.” What makes it different from most? In Rose’s words, it achieves “a new level of logistics integration” by combining at one site BNSF’s intermodal, vehicle, and carload services with transloading and warehousing.

Built on land formerly occupied by the Army’s Joliet Arsenal, which closed in 1993, Logistics Park is 1 1/2 miles long and a mile wide, encompassing 380 acres. The eastern 124 acres is devoted to container traffic, with two 8000-foot strip tracks straddled by Mi-Jack cranes. Space for four additional strip tracks has been reserved.

To the east, two more MiJack cranes tower 110 feet over a storage area with room for 3360 stacked containers and 576 more on chassis. The four cranes, plus two side-loading Piggypackers, can make 400,000 container lifts a year.

The western part of Logistics Park, which opened September 5, is devoted to cars and trucks. Three loading tracks provide spots for 108 auto-rack cars, and space has been saved for a fourth track. This 151-acre facility has parking spots for more than 7000 vehicles and 105 truck loading locations. About 38,000 units are expected to move through the facility each month.

Logistics Park also serves carload traffic, in a 10-track yard with space for 644 freight cars. In the adjoining 100-acre industrial park of developer CenterPoint Properties, warehouses and factories will provide 17 million square feet of covered storage. Logistics Park will employ 300 people, and the industrial park is expected to generate 8000 permanent jobs by 2010.

The facility will have a big impact on BNSF train operations in the Chicago area. You’ll see fewer trains on the old Burlington Northem side, as containers shipped by ocean carriers Maersk Sealand and Hanjin from West Coast ports will go to Logistics Park to be sorted and loaded on solid trains that BNSF will deliver to CSX, Norfolk Southern, and other carriers.

This will reduce “rubber interchange” from BNSF’s existing terminals at Corwith and Cicero yards. Likewise, Logistics Park will originate solid vehicle trains for Western destinations, carrying cars and trucks built by Ford (for Pacific Northwest destinations, Hawaii, and Asia), Honda, Nissan, and other makers.

Trains utilizing Logistics Park will use the former Santa Fe to and from Galesburg, where those serving Pacific Northwest points will access former BN lines via the Cameron connection 10 miles west of Galesburg.

The Joliet facility is not BNSF’s first “21st century yard,” for Chairman Rose cites Santa Fe’s combined intermodal, vehicle, and carload terminal at Alliance, Texas, north of Fort Worth, as the prototype. He also says BNSF hopes to build a counterpart in California.

And while Logistics Park, when fully built, will add 1.2 million annual lifts to the 2.6 million capacity of BNSF’s three previous Chicago-area intermodal terminals, Rose knows his company is racing against time to build enough new facilities to accommodate the growing tide of containers carrying imported goods from China and other Asian origins, which represent “the future for rail growth.” Intermodal traffic, which now makes up one-third of BNSF’s business, may account for half of it by 2010.

-Michael W Blaszak

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