The Grand Island City Council on Tuesday voted to apply for funds from the United States Department of Transportation “BUILD” Grant that could help grow community into a major transportation hub in the Midwest.
According to Chad Nabity, regional planning director, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, in collaboration with Quetica, is in the final stages of completing a freight plan for the State of Nebraska.
Quetica is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business led by industry experts with expertise in transportation and supply chain management, information technology, global trade and payments, and engineering. Quetica’s principals designed, built, and operated the world’s first internet-based, freight audit, financing and payment network, called PowerTrack, used by the federal government, half the Fortune 500 and more than 12,000 transportation service providers in 42 countries.
Nabity said the 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act appropriated $1 billion to be awarded by the Department of Transportation for national infrastructure investments. He said this appropriation stems from the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or “BUILD Transportation Grants,” program.
Nabity said funds for the fiscal year 2020 grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for surface transportation infrastructure projects that will have a significant local or regional impact.
As part of that planning process, he said, they have identified an opportunity to expand mutli-modal freight opportunities in Grand Island and the surrounding region with the expansion of Central Nebraska Transload located on East Highway 30. Nabity said NDOT requested the city consider submitting an application for a 2020 grant. Quetica and NDOT will write the grant application but have requested the city submit the application.
He said the application as proposed will not require any matching funds and applicants may apply for up to $25 million.
“Based on the current estimate the improvements to CNT would cost approximately $15 million,” he said. “Administrative costs for the grant are reimbursable through the grant.”
Nabity said Quetica and NDOT have determined that, with this investment in CNT, it is likely that businesses within 200 miles of Grand Island could conservatively save up to $41.3 million per year in transportation costs by utilizing a combination of cargo consolidation and transload from rail to trucks.
“This could also reduce the number of long-haul trucks within that same 100-mile radius,” he said. “It would, however, likely increase the number of short-haul trucks to and from the CNT site. This would also create additional short-haul trucking jobs most likely based in Grand Island or nearby.”
According to the Grand Island Economic Development Corporation, being centrally located in the United States makes transload and logistic operations easy and accessible in Grand Island. GIECDC said major hubs such as Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis and St. Louis can all be reached by vehicle within one business day. Additionally, these hubs can be reached by railroad within two to five business days.
Transloading can be defined as a highly integrated supply chain network that links producers and consumers through multiple transportation modes, including air and express delivery services, freight rail, maritime transport, and truck transport.
To serve customers efficiently, tailored logistics and transportation solutions are ensured to coordinate goods moving from origin to end user through various modes.
Logistics is the coordination of inbound and outbound transportation management, fleet management, warehousing, materials handling, order fulfillment, inventory management, supply and demand planning, third-party logistics management, and other support services. Logistics services are involved at all levels in the planning and execution of the movement of goods.
Along with Central Nebraska Transload, GIEDC said GIX Logistics, Grand Island Express and Sunrise Express are just a few of the transloading and logistics companies in Grand Island.
Mike Lilienthal is the owner of Central Nebraska Transload, Inc. CNT is both a storage facility for rail as well as a trucking company serving all 48 states.
Lilienthal said the goal of Central Nebraska Transload, Inc. is to “create a diverse transportation hub by utilizing our fleet of flatbed, stepdeck, dry van, tankers as well as other trucking firms that partner with CNT.”
The company provides shipping receiving, warehousing and distribution services utilizing both the BNSF and Union Pacific into Central Nebraska.
Central Nebraska Transload expansion would benefit many businesses and farmers in Central Nebraska. With access to both railroads, many products arrive at Central Nebraska Transload via rail and are shipped out on trucks. The company provides warehouse space for steel products and other items. It also transports caustic soda for the benefit of more than 20 ethanol plants.