The North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) formally launched the North Dakota Intermodal Initiative (NDII) in 2014 after specific intermodal issues were identified in North Dakota. At issue was that North Dakota exporters did not have nearby options for shipping their export goods in containers. Companies were forced to obtain containers from the hubs of Minneapolis or Chicago.
As North Dakota’s exports continued to grow, efforts were made to find solutions to the lack of shipping containers in the state. These efforts originated with Governor Dalyrmple and the North Dakota Port Services (NDPS) in Minot. Governor Dalrymple directed NDTO to continue efforts to improve intermodal transportation based on the progress already achieved by NDPS.
NDII’s goal is to increase exporters’ access to intermodal service at competitive rates through the support of NDPS. To do this, major shipping lines must be persuaded to relocate empty shipping containers from larger cities to an intermodal facility in North Dakota, such as the one in Minot. This would give North Dakota exporters the opportunity to transport their goods in a container at a lower cost. The containers could then be taken by rail to the West, East, or Gulf coasts and shipped overseas.
A key component to NDII has been the North Dakota export community providing valuable information relating to the quantities and direction of their shipments. The NDTO has sent out numerous surveys to shippers in North Dakota in order to collect this information and provide it to the transportation community. The expected result is that this will lead to a larger commercial presence of shipping lines and containers in the state.
As this advocacy effort is completed, the resulting information will be disseminated to stakeholders throughout the state.