New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

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bnsfben
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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by bnsfben »

trainjunkie47 wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:18 am
Now, will CN start getting container traffic into Moterm from Quebec and Nova Scotia? These Panamax ships are sailing to east coast ports more and more now.
Moterm already is getting containers from Eastern Canada. All of the containers on 514’s southbound train are from Eastern Canada. I think this traffic is slowly, but surely, increasing.

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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by David Lang »

I can attest to an increase in traffic for 514.

I live very close to the Holly Sub and remember when 514 started. What used to be sometime just a few cars is now at times well over 50 cars.

I hope the Amazon facility will use rail. Both sides have compelling arguments, but ultimately we will have to wait and see unless someone posts who knows for sure.

What I don't understand is...If an intermodal train is already coming from the West coast with containers bound for the new Amazon facility in Detroit right on the Holly Sub, why would it be MORE cost effective to take all those containers off the train at Chicago and run the highways to Detroit when they can just simply continue the train East, basically right to the Amazon Distribution Center itself? Can someone explain this? Maybe the answer is there would be no "dedicated" amazon train to Detroit from the West Coast? If that is the case, and if Detroit bound amazon containers come on different trains to Chicago, then I understand because a special train would have to be built in Chicago just for Detroit bound Amazon containers, which would NOT be cost effective over driving the containers to Detroit correct? Did I answer my own question correctly?

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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by Saturnalia »

The main reason why a lot of intermodal traffic for Michigan doesn't make it past Chicago on rails is the trouble with interchange. Intermodal trains are structured just like manifests when you get right down to it, although some are point-to-point only.

Think of it this way. There could be 60 containers per day coming into Chicago from the West Coast for CN Detroit: 20 from BNSF, 20 from UP and 20 from CN. But if those containers weren't blocked together on the train, they have to be unloaded anyway. Plus, 20 containers is only 10 cars, which the railroads are loathe to interchange and switch due to the complexity of it, especially in a congested Chicagoland. So most of those containers are either going to be drayed across the city as "rubber tire" interchange - say from BNSF's Logistics Park Chicago and UP Global II over to CN's Homewood Yard. It takes time and cost to do that. Then whenever they get to Detroit, you have to unload and dray anyway. So many containers find it the best solution, for cost or time or both, to just hit the road in Chicagoland the rest of the way to Michigan. The same applies for outbound shipments as well.

The last few years the railroads have trimmed a lot of interchange opportunities for intermodal to streamline their networks. Routes like Portland, OR to Nashville, TN may have been cut if there wasn't enough to justify a block. The railroads basically said "rubber tire it if you want in Chicagoland, but we aren't offering it by steel wheel anymore", or the traffic was shifted to other blocks. For instance, there may not have been enough traffic to justify a Kansas City (BNSF) to Detroit (CSX) block, but once you move that Detroit stuff to North Baltimore, OH, the block is justified. So the dray increases and terminals change but it works out better for the railroads.

Intermodal is just as bad as mixed carloads when it comes to switching and blocking. It has to be done right at the origin terminal since switching it out enroute is akin to humping carload traffic. And with so many routing options, there just often isn't enough traffic in any given lane to justify serving it directly. Brokers make their money figuring out the best way to move the boxes, be it all-truck, all-rail, or some combination with maybe a rubber tire interchange.
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redcrumbox
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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by redcrumbox »

Intermodal works best when only one railroad is involved and there is no interchange. Rubber tire interchange between a western railroad and eastern railroad my add up to $300 more in costs per unit. If you take Sat's example of 60 containers a day, well that's upwards of $15,000 extra per day the shipper has to payout. In the end, it is the shipper, not the railroad, who is looking to find the cheapest rate.

A true coast-to-coast railroad merger would solve the problem as the current Chicago interchange would simply become another stop on the line.

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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by AARR »

redcrumbox wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:27 pm
A true coast-to-coast railroad merger would solve the problem as the current Chicago interchange would simply become another stop on the line.
CN and CP go coast to coast...just sayin :mrgreen:
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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by Standard Railfan »

AARR wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:31 pm
redcrumbox wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 7:27 pm
A true coast-to-coast railroad merger would solve the problem as the current Chicago interchange would simply become another stop on the line.
CN and CP go coast to coast...just sayin :mrgreen:
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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by penn central »

David Lang wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:13 am
I can attest to an increase in traffic for 514.

I live very close to the Holly Sub and remember when 514 started. What used to be sometime just a few cars is now at times well over 50 cars.

I hope the Amazon facility will use rail. Both sides have compelling arguments, but ultimately we will have to wait and see unless someone posts who knows for sure.

What I don't understand is...If an intermodal train is already coming from the West coast with containers bound for the new Amazon facility in Detroit right on the Holly Sub, why would it be MORE cost effective to take all those containers off the train at Chicago and run the highways to Detroit when they can just simply continue the train East, basically right to the Amazon Distribution Center itself? Can someone explain this? Maybe the answer is there would be no "dedicated" amazon train to Detroit from the West Coast? If that is the case, and if Detroit bound amazon containers come on different trains to Chicago, then I understand because a special train would have to be built in Chicago just for Detroit bound Amazon containers, which would NOT be cost effective over driving the containers to Detroit correct? Did I answer my own question correctly?

David Lang
Dave do you remember intermodal trains 142 and 143 they had the same beginning and end points as 148 and 149 only difference is they ran the Mt Clemens and Holly Sub so they could work Moterm i have not seen one of these trains in over 15 years i think 2001 was the last year i saw one, I wonder if they could be resuscitated for this.

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Re: New Amazon DC at CN Moterm (State Fairground Site)

Unread post by DaveO »

trainjunkie47 wrote:
Fri Aug 14, 2020 1:18 am
Now, will CN start getting container traffic into Moterm from Quebec and Nova Scotia? These Panamax ships are sailing to east coast ports more and more now.
I think you mean Neopanamax which fit the new locks.

It would be quicker to unload and rail from a Gulf of Mexico port.

CN has an intermodal terminal at Mobile which from what I've read can handle Neopanamax ships.

CN also has an intermodal terminal at New Orleans.
Until the river is dredged, it's not deep enough for loaded Neopanamax ships.

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