An innovative approach that transforms a negative into a positive for Wisconsin manufacturers and producers substantiates findings in research completed by the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Simply put, geography is an issue for Wisconsin shippers wishing to utilize intermodal rail—rail combined with other transportation modes such as trucking—as part of its supply chain. Chicago’s proximity results in Wisconsin shippers being held captive to the realities of the region’s freight system. As the busiest transcontinental rail gateway in the country with over 1,200 commuter, intercity passenger, and freight trains a day, Chicago is the heart of the continental freight rail system and exerts a gravitational mass that essentially creates a funnel for Wisconsin freight that wants to travel by rail. However, because of the regions’ congested rail system, getting freight through the Chicago gateway can take anywhere from hours to days, creating service and reliability issues for Wisconsin shippers. [click to continue…]