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Private operator named for intermodal shipping facility in Minot

Private operator named for intermodal shipping facility in Minot

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An East Coast-based company that operates intermodal shipping facilities in Nebraska and Texas will run a new facility in Minot.

Gov. Doug Burgum last week announced that BNSF Railway will provide an intermodal unit train in Minot. Burgum and other officials on Wednesday released more details, including that Rail Modal Group Minot will run the operation.

The term "intermodal" refers to containers that can be used to ship products via truck, rail or ship, with little human interaction. Product being shipped does not need to be unloaded and repacked as it moves between different types of transportation. The first intermodal containers for the site arrived in Minot on Tuesday.

Efforts to establish an intermodal facility in North Dakota span two decades. The Northern Plains Commerce Center that opened in Bismarck in 2008 was meant to be one, but that never materialized. The North Dakota Trade Office formally launched the "North Dakota Intermodal Initiative" in 2014, working with North Dakota Port Services, a company that operated the Port of North Dakota in Minot. That project ran into financial problems a few years ago.

“RMG is proud to support the producers and shippers throughout North Dakota and surrounding areas to provide international export capacity through our newly developed Port of Minot," RMG President and CEO Greg Oberting said in a statement.

Minot’s facility will provide service to The Northwest Seaport Alliance, a marine cargo partnership of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle in Washington. It's one of the largest cargo ports in the country.

“This new rail service means lower costs for our export customers in the Great Plains shipping valuable agricultural commodities through our gateway,” Peter Steinbrueck, Port of Seattle commission president and co-chair of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, said in a statement. “In the Puget Sound region, this service also supports new, additional cargo, which will help grow our market share and support more family wage jobs.”

Burgum has said the intermodal option will reduce shipping costs for farm products by as much as 25%.

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