New rail service between Indianapolis and Canadian ports to begin this summer

May 19, 2013 by  

Indianapolis companies who ship by rail will soon have an alternative to trying to get their goods through the ‘bottleneck’ of Chicago’s crowded rail yards.

It was recently revealed that businesses in central Indiana will soon be able to ship their wares to Far East destinations via ports on Canada’s west coast, thanks to a new service set to begin July 1 that will link Indianapolis to Canadian ports directly, bypassing Chicago.

The new line is a partnership between the Indiana Rail Road Co. and Canadian National Railway. It will run between Indianapolis and Prince Rupert and Vancouver, both in British Columbia. The route will not only help shippers, it will make it easier to get goods into Indianapolis, making the city a distribution center and boosting its economy.

Rail traffic is often jammed up in Chicago, and the delays are both inconvenient and expensive. When rail cars sit waiting for someone to unload them, the shipper has to pay ‘detention charges’. Once the train is unloaded, the goods are often transferred to trucks for the trip to Indianapolis. Trucks are more expensive than rail, and subject to weather delays. Avoiding Chicago avoids these difficulties.

In addition, the Canadian port cities are less crowded than Long Beach, California, the major U.S. West Coast port. Plus, the trip from Vancouver to Asia is one or two days shorter than from Long Beach.

Central Indiana companies will need to be made aware of the new service, and Indianapolis officials might do so by working with brochure printers to create a mailer describing the route and its advantages.