Pioneer Lines plans new shipping facility in Paulding County | Local News
PAULDING — A railroad sorting line provider submitted a proposal here Thursday morning for a new facility in Paulding County to provide more services to local business and industry.
The breakfast was hosted by the Paulding County Economic Development Office at the Paulding Eagles and was attended by approximately 45 people, including a number of local business representatives. Attendees included several people from Pioneer Lines, including the company’s managing director, Alex Yeros.
Based in Denver, Colorado and owner of lines in 14 states, Pioneer Lines operates track between Woodburn, Ind. and Liberty Center which connects to CSX, crossing Defiance, Henry and Paulding counties.
Pioneer’s Matt Service – the senior vice president of business development – explained that the branch line provider plans to build a new transshipment facility in Paulding County that will better connect local businesses. Shortline railroads — Pioneer is said to be the fourth-largest such provider in the country — connects customers to larger railroads such as CSX that ship goods nationwide.
A transshipment facility would also have warehousing capabilities, Service noted, and could handle anything a participating company wants to ship to anywhere in the country.
He said 3,000 feet of new track is planned at such a facility in Paulding County. Company officials did not provide a possible location for such a site, although it is being built in the northern part of the county near the existing track.
The service noted the timeliness of the proposal, given that fuel costs are rising and the country has a significant need for truckers. Rail transport, he said, is “cheap”.
However, before committing to the project definitively, Pioneer wishes to receive comments from local businesses. Attendees at Thursday’s meeting were asked to complete a survey providing information on things like shipment volume and equipment needed.
Service said Pioneer had already met a number of criteria for the project to materialize, such as rail and road access, and land. But he’s looking for an “anchor product or customer.” He added that the company hopes to have “some leads in place before the end of the year”.
Company representatives also spoke about the branch line provider’s ongoing infrastructure upgrade between Woodburn and Liberty Center.
The track, which can only be used for very slow trains, has been in poor condition for years. However, according to Yeros, by the end of 2022 some $15 million will have been invested in repairing the runway.
Efforts to repair the track over the past few months have been evident.
Pioneer’s Jodi Heath – business development manager – informed attendees that the short line covers 58 miles between Woodburn and Liberty Center and is located in a “prime location”. Current clients include Lafarge in Paulding County, Johns Manville in Defiance County and Campbell Soup Company in Henry County.