BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) announced that it is conducting a feasibility study for a potential new Logistics Park and Intermodal Hub Center in the Gardner, Kansas area. BNSF Chairman, President and CEO Matthew K. Rose told a group of Kansas City area business leaders that the Gardner area has emerged as the most promising alternative to expand BNSF’s capabilities to meeting growing demand for intermodal service in the Kansas City region.
However, Rose said several issues must be resolved by the feasibility study to enable BNSF to make a decision about the viability of such a facility. Those issues include: resolving questions about how public infrastructure improvements will be funded; BNSF’s finding the right third-party development partner; developing an acceptable design for such a facility; and determining whether an acceptable return can be generated on BNSF’s capital investment.
“A potential new Logistics Park facility and BNSF Intermodal Hub Center would represent significant investments in BNSF’s future in the Kansas City region and would strongly enhance the area’s role in international trade if we can resolve the remaining key issues,” Rose pointed out. He noted that such a development would be just the third Logistics Park on BNSF’s network.
A Logistics Park is a freight development concept BNSF has pioneered. The first two such facilities in the country were developed by BNSF in partnership with third-party developers near Fort Worth, Texas, and Chicago. BNSF’s Logistics Parks concentrate development of rail intermodal hub centers, where truck trailers and containers are transferred between trucks and trains, with development of adjacent freight distribution and warehousing centers and motor vehicle distribution facilities. The concentration of such developments in BNSF’s first two Logistics Parks in the Chicago and North Texas regions have each generated thousands of new jobs and eliminated many of the local truck trips that normally occur between such facilities when they are spread out in a region.
Rose said the Logistics Park concept represents, ‘a more intelligent freight development concept that harnesses the strengths of trucks and rail even more efficiently than an intermodal hub center alone, and has proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth where we have successfully been able to establish them.’
BNSF expects to have the feasibility study complete by mid-summer in order to make a decision on the Gardner location.