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Port shows off new container terminal in Duluth

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A reach stacker lifts a container off a railcar at the Clure Public Marine Terminal on Tuesday afternoon. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com2 / 6
Jim Gardiepy (left), operations manager of Lexington Manufacturing, listens to Lexington’s materials manager Brad Milbeck talk about shipping things by containers. Lexington is the first customer to take advantage of the new CN/Duluth Cargo Connect intermodal terminal. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com3 / 6
A Trackmobile railcar mover pulls several cars bearing containers at Clure Public Marine Terminal on Tuesday afternoon. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com4 / 6
A semi bearing a container pulls onto a scale at Clure Public Marine Terminal. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com5 / 6
A reach stacker lowers a container onto a semi trailer at the Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth on Tuesday afternoon. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com6 / 6

It was a beautiful day to move some containers.

The first shipment taking advantage of the Canadian National Railway and Duluth Cargo Connect container terminal was on display Tuesday afternoon as the Duluth Seaway Port Authority let local media take a look at the new operation.

"This is going to make our lives easier," said Brad Milbeck, materials manager for Lexington Manufacturing, the first customer to move freight through the terminal. Lexington, based in Coon Rapids with operations in Brainerd, produces door components.

Milbeck said these first few containers came from the Netherlands and were filled with agricultural fiber boards — about 500 boards per container. The company imports from the Netherlands and China, and CN's rail network allows access to maritime shipments from both countries.

CN and Duluth Cargo Connect — a partnership between the port authority and Lake Superior Warehousing — announced the intermodal terminal Monday as a big new opportunity for the port and customers around the region and the globe. The operation, at the Clure Public Marine Terminal, can make Duluth an attractive option for shippers looking to cut costs and time.

"We're glad to see this get going," Milbeck said. "We've got another dozen (containers) coming in April."

The intermodal terminal — it's called that because it allows transfer between two modes of transport, trains and trucks — has other customers importing and exporting containers by rail and truck from Duluth, though port authority officials said they can't say who those firms are.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks covers business and the economy for the Duluth News Tribune.

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