BNSF’s LPKC Supports Region’s Projected Growth
When BNSF began operations in its new $250 billion intermodal facility south of Kansas City recently, it signaled a strong commitment to a part of the country that’s already leading the nation’s rail systems in tonnage.
Called the Logistics Park Kansas City (LPKC), the facility covers 1,300 acres adjacent to Edgerton’s NorthPoint industrial park, a project that’s forecast to cover nearly 20 million square feet upon completion. The construction in and around the park, and the increased freight traffic by truck and rail, is good for many area companies, including AT&S.
BNSF, which operates “more than 32,000 route miles of track in the western two-thirds of the United States and Canada,” valued Kansas City’s Midwestern location and proximity to four interstate systems (I-70, I-49, I-35 and I-29), multiple highways, and the Missouri/Mississippi River system, known as “the nation’s largest navigable inland waterway.”
The Logistics Park is located south of Kansas City, in the town of Edgerton in Johnson County. This region is also the No. 1 rail system by tonnage and has more Foreign Trade Zones than anywhere else in the country.
BNSF’s former hub, the Argentine Yard of Kansas City, was averaging 346,000 lifts a year. LPKC is on track to its target of a half-million lifts a year and currently completes 1,000 lifts daily. However, LPKC was built with the anticipated ability to perform 1.5 million lifts a year if business demands.
The park manages these numbers using impressive new technology. LPKC features five bright orange, 90-foot-tall and 276-foot-long electrical cranes. Each 1.6 million-pound crane moves containers on and off the trucks and trains. The sealed, secured containers are scanned (as are license plates and drivers’ thumbprints) for an identifying number, and possession to or from BNSF is recorded almost instantly.
“While efficiency is a driving force behind the park’s design,” said SmartPort President and Kansas City Area Development Council affiliate Chris Gutierrez, “BNSF aimed to be green, too. The new park minimized environmental impact with the cranes and also with reduced mileage for trucks. The environmental measures taken by BNSF are a great example of the railway’s good stewardship for the area,” said Gutierrez.
While the environmental impact was structured to be small, the economic effect of LPKC is much larger. “Job creation, industrial real estate, construction in and around the park – it’s all raising the bar for the local economy,” said Gutierrez. Many businesses in the region have seen an uptick in business since the park opened. “Companies from all over the world can see the increased value the park has added,” said AT&S president Rick Honan.
“The growth potential that BNSF now provides is a huge benefit. It will bring more warehousing and distribution to the area for importers,” added David Nickell, president of the Terminal Consolidation Company/Kansas City Piggyback. “Being centrally located in the middle of the U.S., Kansas City enables customers to service their accounts in a timely manner, whether going east, north, south or west from KC.”