ContainerPort Group Opens Columbus Mega Complex
By Steve Pollock
COLUMBUS, OHIO… Intermodal transportation is the integration of truck, rail and ship involved in the import and export of freight that ships all around the world. With today’s global economy, Intermodal freight volumes have seen dramatic increases. If you have ever had the opportunity to visit a seaboard Intermodal port such as Newark, New Jersey; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina or Long Beach, California, you will quickly realize the magnitude of the amount of freight being transported. Each of the thousands of domestic containers requires a minimum of two truck hauls when exporting – one to deliver an empty container to the consignee and another to deliver the loaded container to the ship lines. The reverse is also true for imports.
Intermodal transportation is usually thought of in the context of moving containers to and from port cities on the seaboard. However there are a growing number of Domestic Coast-to-Coast Inland Ports that provide some unique Intermodal services. Inland Ports serve as a storage area for loaded and empty containers and the chassis they are loaded onto. They are also a staging area for trucks to begin their pickup and delivery of the containers. While the Inland Intermodal Ports are operated by a specific carrier, they will usually store containers for multiple ship lines and have trucks leased to many different carriers that pickup and deliver at the container yard.
ContainerPort Group, in its 41st year of business, is among the largest companies in the nation to provide Inland Intermodal container yard services to ship lines and Intermodal carriers. While ContainerPort Group has had terminals in Columbus, Ohio for over 30 years; they recently consolidated two of their Columbus terminals into one multipurpose mega complex. ContainerPort Group’s Columbus container yard or (CY) is conveniently located on Creekway Drive off of Alum Creek Road near I-270Southeast of Columbus, Ohio. The complex is over 120 acres with 3 separate but connected yard areas. About 2/3s of the complex is paved with approximately 4,000 containers and chassis in temporary storage. 53 acres of the CY serves as a cargo transfer facility (CTF) for bulk materials shipped by rail containers. Trucks deliver bulk raw materials such as grain and other agricultural products, steel, plastics, lumber, pre-fab buildings and even heavy equipment. The products are off-loaded; some are temporarily stored while many are reloaded on the spot into rail car containers, which are then loaded onto waiting rail car chassis. The yard has its own grain elevator and heavy duty lifts to provide a cost effective method of cargo transfer for both trucks and trains. The transfer yard contains about 7,000 feet of railroad track. CPG’s transfer yard ships about 2 million pounds of steel per week, all of which is exported. The bulk capacity containers are loaded onto railcars, which are sent to Ports to be loaded onto ships or rail to domestic locations.
ContainerPort Group’s Columbus container yard was designed to provide all the ancillary services needed to accommodate container moves. There are 6 inspection lanes at the entrance of the facility: three inbound and three outbound. The lanes can be switched to accommodate larger volumes of inbound or outbound traffic. 5-7 inspectors are on duty to assist the driver in checking in the containers as they enter and to help them check outbound containers as well. This ensures drivers have the right container for delivery and the inspectors also conduct pre-trip inspections on the chassis and container as well. CPG operates their own chassis maintenance facility with 9 mobile units to service the yard area. They also maintain a 24-hour breakdown service. This is a critical service as under the new IEP (Intermodal Equipment Provider) Guidelines chassis and container inspections and maintenance are now outsourced to companies such as ContainerPort Group instead of the ship lines themselves. The containers are owned by the ship lines but the chassis are now owned by a number of Intermodal carriers. Many of these carriers belong to a “chassis pool”, allowing for collective use of their chassis that provides logistical flexibility with the equipment and maintenance when needed. This system has vastly improved chassis maintenance and DOT compliance.
ContainerPort Group also operates CPGDS (ContainerPort Group Distribution Services), a 60,000 square foot warehouse facility in Columbus for domestic/international Intermodal cross docking. CPGDS is Customs bonded, with room to expand to up to a 240,000 square foot capacity.
CPG Columbus is an amazing freight handling, storage and transfer facility. The complex is a veritable beehive of activity with between 400 and 500 trucks per day entering or leaving. The company also provides a 5-acre after-hours holding area where their own trucks can drop and hook 24/7. This yard allows many CPG drivers to get a jump on the next day’s work, often getting in that extra run for the day. The CPG holding area also serves as a place for CPG contractors to park both their tractor and their personal vehicle. The entire complex is fenced and secured and a certified scale is available for CPG contractors and the public.
ContainerPort Group is a 100% owner/operator company that provides Intermodal Container and Cargo solutions. CPG’s corporate headquarters is in Rocky River, Ohio (near Cleveland). The company has a network of 16 terminals located in the East, Southeast and Midwest. To learn more about the ContainerPort Group advantage, customers and contractors are welcome to log onto www.containerport.com or call 1-800-844-9340.