Des Moines Area Study Recommends More Movement of Goods By Rail | Press Release



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Media Contact: Todd Ashby, Executive Director

515-334-0075 |

Des Moines Area Study Recommends More Movement of Goods By Rail

DES MOINES – How goods are moved to and from businesses in the metro could soon be more affordable, efficient and sustainable. A new study released by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization recommends building a transloading facility in the city of Des Moines near the Southeast Connector.

 Transloading is a combination of marrying three industries and their operational characteristics: trucking, warehousing and rail. The study’s market analysis of businesses in the metro indicates a demand from local shippers for alternative transportation. Shipping goods via rail is more affordable for shippers, lowers intercity truck traffic and reduces overall transportation carbon emissions by 75 percent. The study anticipates that after three years of operating, the facility would be diverting 11,000 trucks per year from the roads onto rail.

 “The MPO seeks transportation system solutions that are more efficient and sustainable.  On average, rail is four times more fuel efficient than trucks,” said Todd Ashby, Executive Director of the Des Moines Area MPO.

The study recommends a site located on the north side of the Southeast Connector between SE 14th and SE 18th streets. This site is highly desirable due to its ability to serve three Class 1 and one Class 2 railroads and would be the only location in the state with access to multiple national lines.  In the United States, only 22 percent of shippers have direct access to more than one Class 1 railroad.  Additionally this site would provide easy access to the truck route Southeast Connector and two major interstate systems:  I-35 and I-80.

“Central Iowa has already established itself as a logistics hub for the Midwest,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “As set forth in the Greater Des Moines Regional Export Plan, the development of the transloading facility would make our region more attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand in Greater Des Moines.”

The City of Des Moines currently owns the recommended site and plans to continue to explore this opportunity, gather additional input from stakeholders and will move forward with a request for proposals for an operator.  The Iowa Transportation Commission will vote in October to award a $1.7 million, 10-year no interest loan to offset investment costs related to the development of the transloading facility.

For more information call (515) 334-0075. View the Des Moines Rail Transload Feasibility Study and Market Analysis here.

 The Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Acts as a regional forum to ensure coordination between the public and local, state, and federal agencies in regard to planning issues and to prepare transportation plans and programs. The MPO develops both long- and short-range multimodal transportation plans, selects and approves projects for federal funding based upon regional priorities, and develops methods to reduce traffic congestion.