Over 100 Containers and Counting
Since the Chicago Land Bridge officially opened for business in March of 2006, over one hundred import containers have shipped or are in queue to make the journey from overseas direct to the Chicago marketplace, and hundreds more are anticipated in the coming months. As the land bridge continues to capture the attention of the logistics industry, Nexus braces itself for the first significant wave of container traffic.
The Chicago Land Bridge is a half-mile-long private roadway that links a metro-Chicago CSX intermodal facility with Nexus’ Bedford Park, IL warehouse facility. It was designed to facilitate the direct distribution of imports to the Midwest region of the U.S. The land bridge allows shippers to avoid de-consolidation at the port of entry, and to legally ship containers that exceed the maximum weight allowed on U.S public roadways. For most shippers, this equates to a ‘buy-four-get-one-free’ savings, though it varies based on product characteristics such as size, weight and stacking ability. Additionally, the proximity of the CSX Intermodal yard to Nexus’ distribution center potentially allows customers to realize a reduction in drayage and demurrage fees.
The flow of containers in the pipeline started gradually at first with only about 20 containers processed within the first four months of the project’s launch. With the ability to process between 20 containers per day, the modest volume at the onset of the program enabled Nexus to refine and perfect its process. The gradual uptake was primarily due to manufacturing time required for its first and largest established Land Bridge customer. Now that manufacturing is underway at the client’s European plant, up to 80 containers of product are presently headed toward Nexus, each of which will make its way from the CSX intermodal facility to the Nexus warehouse for immediate transload or storage services.
The Nexus Chicago Land Bridge captured a significant amount of media attention in the logistics industry. Following a press release in March ’06 announcing the Land Bridge’s opening, more than thirty business and industry trade publications or web sites featured news of the project’s commencement. Reputable publications and trade organizations helped spread the word about the exciting new service offering, including Logistics Management Magazine, The Journal of Commerce, DC Velocity, Forbes.com and the United Transportation Union, to name just a few. The Land Bridge was also featured in an exclusive article in the American Journal of Transportation.
Online coverage and industry responsiveness produced a significant number of interested prospective customers that instantly recognized the benefits of the innovative service offering. Patti Baumgartner of Nexus’ Business Development team is leading the sales response to Land Bridge inquiries received each week.
“So far we have seen an average of about five to seven Land Bridge inquiries per week,” explains Patti. “A lot of people have heard about the program and are calling to learn more about it. Now that they know it’s available, it’s just a matter of working within the structure of their supply chain to get the ball rolling.”
Patti offered that a next phase of the outreach will be to educate freight forwarders about how to use the Land Bridge so that they can help their clients take advantage of this service. “The freight forwarders and the ocean carriers are important,” Patti explains, “because they are usually integral in coordinating the movements. Once they understand what the Land Bridge is and how it can be used, this will be a service that they can offer their customers.”
Companies and shippers that will benefit most from the Land Bridge are those that ship a significant, consistent volume of containers to the United States, because they will realize the greatest savings. Currently the Land Bridge solution is most easily applied for customers that have the ability to ship through East coast U.S. ports, such as Savannah, GA; Jacksonville, FL; Newark, NJ; and Charleston, SC.
“The land bridge is a truly unique value-add,” explains Pete Marquardt, Midwest Transportation Manager. “Many, many companies offer transportation and warehousing and the more traditional services that 3PL’s are known for, but the land bridge concept goes above and beyond.”