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Port of Huntsville marks another year of growth in intermodal transportation

HUNTSVILLE — The International Intermodal Center at the Port of Huntsville is on track for sustained growth, according to recent statistics from the facility.

North Alabama’s lone inland port saw 24% more rail lifts in 2023 (27,597) than in 2022 (22, 210), according to a news release.

“The International Intermodal Center at the Port of Huntsville has proudly served North Alabama and South Central Tennessee with comprehensive, high-quality intermodal services since 1986,” said Butch Roberts, CEO of the Port of Huntsville. “We are proud of our successful track record because more than 400 companies trust our capabilities to provide excellent customer service that is vital to their operations.”

The Port of Huntsville gantry crane places a container on a truck chassis. (Port of Huntsville contributed)

The Port of Huntsville provides a single hub location specializing in receiving, transferring, storing and distributing international and domestic cargo via air, rail and highway. The intermodal complex is equipped with a five-mile rail spur connected to the Norfolk Southern Railroad mainline, allowing easy access to ports on the East and West coasts.

“The Huntsville and North Alabama community is a fast-growing part of the state and supports a number of important industries from aerospace to automotive,” said Shawn Tureman, Norfolk Southern vice president Intermodal & Automotive Marketing. “Our partnership with the Port of Huntsville allows us to bring Alabama and Tennessee businesses access to major U.S. seaports.

“Together, we are ensuring that businesses can enjoy efficient, reliable, and economical intermodal service that ensures speed to market of their products.”

State-of-the-art amenities include a rail cargo terminal and ramp, U.S. Customs and Border Protection onsite, a Foreign Trade Zone, and 436,000 square feet of air cargo warehouse and distribution facilities with 35,000 square feet of cold storage.

Parallel 12,600-foot and 10,000-foot runways permit simultaneous flight operations, and the air cargo ramp is large enough to park 10 Boeing 747 aircraft side by side, according to a news release from the port.

Huntsville International Airport is ranked 21st in the continental U.S. for international air cargo volume, and the airport serves seven major cargo airlines as well as international freight forwarders DSV and Kerry Logistics.

“Rail traffic has increased year-over-year thanks to our partnership with 14 steamship lines and service provided by Norfolk Southern,” Roberts said. “We have invested more than $70 million in rail intermodal infrastructure and $230 million in air cargo infrastructure.

“These investments, along with the presence of first-class amenities including a depot storage yard and U.S. Customs onsite guarantee a bright future for HSV. ”

The International Intermodal Center at the Port of Huntsville has connected the rapidly growing Huntsville community and the Tennessee Valley with the rest of the world for 38 years with multi-modal transportation to help stimulate economic growth and development.

“The impact of our relationships with regional government and community organizations has allowed us to work closely together to produce the kind of prosperity and economic growth that is the envy of cities across the country,” Roberts said. “We look forward to continuing our work to fuel even more expansion and jobs in the communities we serve.”

The Port of Huntsville includes four operating entities – Huntsville International Airport, International Intermodal Center, Jetplex Industrial Park and Huntsville International Spaceport.

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