By DAN WHEAT
QUINCY, Wash. -- Cold Train refrigerated rail service between the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest and East Coast soon will open a new office in Chicago in an attempt to increase shipments to the Northwest.
The office will open in downtown Chicago by the end of April or sooner, said Steve Lawson, president of Rail Logistics in Overland Park, Kan., that operates Cold Train Express Intermodal Service in partnership with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the Port of Quincy.
"We've had tremendous success moving fresh and frozen food products from Washington and Oregon to the Midwest and East Coast since we started service in 2010," Lawson said.
Increasing shipments to the Northwest will benefit shippers in the East, receivers in the West and consumers in Washington and Oregon, he said.
Cold Train operates a fleet of 300, 53-foot-long, 42,500-pound-capacity containers from its yard in Quincy that can be loaded at businesses and trucked to Quincy or BNSF terminals in Spokane, Portland or Seattle for transfer onto railcars to head east. Containers are offloaded and trucked to final destinations. They are used at varying levels of refrigeration or with refrigeration turned off.
About 800 container loads a month are moved in and out of Quincy and another 100 or so in and out of Portland, Seattle and Spokane, Lawson said.
Apples, pears, cherries, fresh vegetables and frozen vegetables and frozen french fries are typically shipped to the Midwest and East Coast.
Frozen bread, pizza, meat, cranberries, blueberries and non-refrigerated spices, starch and general products are among items shipped to the Northwest. Containers are removed from railcars in Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Quincy and trucked to final destinations.
Shipments can arrive and depart Quincy six days a week and Portland, Seattle and Spokane seven days a week. They take approximately four to five days between the Northwest and the Midwest and six to seven days between the Northwest and the East Coast.
Cold Train is focusing on Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts "because that's where our customers want to go and they are good lanes for us," Lawson said.