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Trucks are the dominant freight transportation mode in Massachusetts. While significant quantities of freight also travel by rail, air, or ocean, freight movements by these other modes almost always involve travel via truck at some point in the journey. A wide variety of specialized terminals have been developed to facilitate and optimize freight movements using multiple modes. This memorandum discusses one specific type of facility, the intermodal warehouse.
The facilities described in this study share two characteristics. First, in addition to truck loading bays, they all have a rail siding allowing boxcar freight to be delivered directly to the warehouse. Second, they can provide their customers with a range of value-added logistic services. Most of these services involve some aspect of inventory management, but can also include pickup and delivery or import and export permitting. Typically, an intermodal warehouse is considered a business partner of a railroad.
This study identifies ten intermodal warehouses operating in Massachusetts. The railroad services, logistic emphases, and land use implications of these operations are described and illustrated graphically.