North Baltimore rail terminal expected to move northwest Ohio ec - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

North Baltimore rail terminal expected to move northwest Ohio economy

NORTH BALTIMORE, OH (WTOL) - The CSX Northwest Ohio Intermodal Rail Terminal in North Baltimore is open for business, and it's opening the door to global markets.

Construction on the $175 million facility was completed in February, and a public open house was held Tuesday. More than 2 million containers will pass through the facility every year.

"Ohio is so centrally located that by bringing the trains in here and reassembling them, we can reach so many different markets," said Michael Ward, Chairman, President and CEO of CSX Corporation.

CSX chose North Baltimore due to its centralized location in the Midwest. It allows trains to avoid going through the busy Chicago area. Trains carry freight from the terminal across the country. Some of it ends up at coastal ports, where it can be loaded onto ships, ultimately linking Northwest Ohio with the rest of the world.

"It effectively creates a portal in the global marketplace for the Midwestern United States," said Tom Blaha, Executive Director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. "We're very pleased about the future this offers, not just for North Baltimore, not just for Wood County, but for all of Northwest Ohio and the Midwest."

The terminal already employs more than 200 workers, and it's expected to attract 2,600 new jobs to the area over the next decade, in part by drawing distributors to the area.

"As this place becomes more a part of the world marketplace, there are companies that are going to want to locate here to bring their components that might be manufactured all over the world into one common place to assemble them into a manufactured product," Blaha said.

2,000 acres of farmland near the facility have been re-zoned industrial, as local governments try to attract new business near the rail facility.

"It's absolutely incredible, the support it gives the economy, especially after we lost some of our main businesses in the community," said Aaron Patterson, a North Baltimore Village Council Member.

ODOT is also planning to re-route State Route 18 around North Baltimore's downtown to accommodate an expected increase in truck traffic. The $18 million project could begin as early as next year.

Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved

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