Industrial Parks With Railroads Are Interesting Places

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A site that was quite interesting is the General Electric “Main Plant” in Schenectady. I would classify it as a one-industry industrial park. Some of the unusual attributes are (1) connected to two railroads (NY Central and D&H); (2) had its own plant switchers; (3) received coal for a power plant; and (4) used for staging high-wide shipments.

Speaking of Schenectady….THE ALCO PLANT !! It can’t get much better than that. Steam or diesel era, you could have any motive power you like, as long as it was an ALCO product, whether or not the local roads used it (UP Big Boy and Challenger alongside NYC Hudsons and Niagaras). The NYC and D&H both were/are in the area and the trackage in the plant was intricate.

Take a look at the Railroad Avenue neighborhood in Colonie/Guilderland. Service has only recently been abandoned in here, but while it lasted there was street running (both center median style and brief stretches of truly “doing it in the road.” As recently as 1975, PCs West Albany local was a GP20, a tin can transfer caboose, and maybe 10-20 cars a day. Mostly inbound, of course.

Northeastern Industrial Park is located in the Town of Guilderland, Albany County, New York. The Park is situated on 586 acres and consists of 29 buildings totaling 3 million square feet of warehouse and manufacturing space. Development opportunities include over 150 acres for build-to-suit facilities. Financial incentives are provided through Foreign Trade Zone #121. Rail service to the Park is provided by Canadian Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Rail traffic within the Park is controlled by SMS Rail Lines.

Rotterdam Corporate Park is located in the Town of Rotterdam, Schenectady County, New York. The Park is situated on 245 acres and consists of 29 buildings totaling 3.7 million square feet of warehouse, manufacturing, and office space. Development opportunities include 24 shovel-ready acres for build-to-suit facilities.  Financial  incentives are available through Foreign Trade Zone and Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority. Rail service to the Park is provided by CSX Transportation.

Glenville Business & Technology Park is located in the Town of Glenville, Schenectady County, New York. Situated on 152 acres, the Park consists of 11 warehouse buildings totaling 1.25 million square feet of quality warehouse and manufacturing space. Financial Incentives are available through the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority. Rail service is provided to the Park by PanAm Railways.

Situated on 34 acres of prime real estate, West Yard Road is located in the Town of Bethlehem, Albany County, New York.  This site is zoned HI (Heavy Industrial). This site is located adjacent to the CSX Selkirk Rail Yard.

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Port of Albany

Railroads

  • CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY: Major classification yard (Kenwood Yards) one mile from Port of Albany

  • CSX TRANSPORTATION: Major classification yard (Selkirk) in close proximity

  • NORFOLK SOUTHERN: Intermodal facility located within one mile

  • PORT OF ALBANY RAILROAD: Responsive and efficient switching service to CSX and Canadian Pacific Railroads and owned jointly by CSX and Canadian Pacific Railroads

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New Haven Terminal, New Haven, Connecticut

Sea to rail or rail to sea is one of the cheapest modes…… eliminate truckers….save big bucks.

This area is at the junction of Interstates 95 and 91. It is an opportunity to bring the three modes of transportation together here – water, rail, and freight movement on trucks.

Providence & Worcester sees petroleum, steel, lumber and chemicals coming into New Haven and being shipped by train all over North and Central America.

Are We Putting To Much Trust in Data?

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We’re constantly seeing new uses for big data. So much so that it’s not even necessary to describe what the term means. Is the use of huge amounts of amorphous data making us better at our work, or is it adding layers of abstraction over the realities of the world?

Certainly there are valid uses for collecting data ad-infinitum but the most common reason I hear is the notion ‘why not?’ Data transfer and storage capacities have become exceedingly affordable to the point that the cost of a few additional terabytes is worth the gamble that the data stored will eventually be useful. In fact one of the uses often mentioned for analyzing big data is to discover patterns and answers we haven’t yet developed questions for.

I think we should be thinking about big data in 2 distinct categories. Category 1 can be seen as a collection of data that is part of a process, has known values (even if they don’t consist of structured data in tables and fields) and can provide business value within a known period of time. Category 2 consists of data that is a byproduct of the environment. This can be working documents, social media streams, video clips, and anything else that is not directly related to the process of getting specific tasks completed.

Christenson Transportation Expands to Ohio – How Florida East Coast Railway Serves The Midwest

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Christenson Transportation, Progressive Transportation’s agent carrier, has expanded its arrangement with the Florida East Coast Railway to provide more reliable shipping between the Northeast and Florida, according to the company.

Under the agreement, which began in the summer of 2012, the Florida East Coast Railway agreed to provide rail trailers to Christenson for their exclusive use. As a result, delivery times fell, allowing for two-day shipping from the Tennessee-Kentucky border to Florida.

The companies have now expanded their reach into Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, which has quadrupled the customer base using the two-day service, according to a release.

The railway brings the trailers to Christenson Transportation’s terminal where they are stored, distributed, loaded and brought back. This allows the Florida East Coast Railway to make the turn from Atlanta back to the rail ramp in the same day without a break in hours-of-service. These trailers can accommodate up to 53-foot rail boxes.

“We are now averaging 1,400 loads per year on this one lane with the FEC,” said Paul Stykitus, Christenson’s director of sales. “We’ve done very well in aggressively pursuing the accommodation of additional volume and meeting the challenges of customer requirements.”

Choice Overload

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Penney Vanderbilt recently posted a blog on

Self Help For You “Office-Weary Warriors” Out There

Well we found something similar you might enjoy:

In the Western world, we pride ourselves on our right to choose. From voting for political leaders to purchasing an automobile, we have a say in just about every decision in our lives. The average grocery store displays 45,000 items for our shopping pleasure, while a typical big box store has about 100,000. There are over 27 million books on Amazon and an increasing number of available singles on dating sites.

We thrive on having a number of options available at our fingertips, but does that variety lead us to make the best decisions? The experts say no. Though it may be appealing on the surface, it turns out too much choice can be downright crippling in the end.

Back when Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar was a graduate student, she undertook an interesting experiment about choice. With the cooperation of a high-end grocery store – the kind that has 75 different kinds of olive oil – she set out to determine whether having more options available makes a customer buy more or less of a product.

She set up two tasting booths, one with 24 flavors of jam, the other with six flavors. While the table with more options attracted more samplers, the conversion rate was lousy – only two out of every 100 people ended up purchasing jam. Compare that with the 12 people who tossed a jar into their cart after stopping at the table with just six flavors. The results said it all: those faced with fewer choices were six times more likely to make an actual purchase.

It’s not the only study to draw such conclusions. In another instance, Iyengar and a handful of peers analyzed retirement savings choices made by 500,000 employees and found the more investment funds available, the lower the employee participation. People were opting out – and missing out on free money from their employer – simply because they were overwhelmed by choice.

Iyengar has identified three main negative consequences to what she calls our “choice overload problem.” First, we’re likely to procrastinate and put off making a decision as long as possible. When we do finally make one, it’s probably not the best choice. Finally, we experience a sense of dissatisfaction with our decision, forever wondering if we could have found something better. Instead of being liberated by choice, we are suffocated by it. The whole process can be absolutely unpleasant.

Business leaders often have to make tough decisions under a great deal of pressure. The average CEO makes almost 140 decisions in a week, nearly half of which are made in nine minutes or less. The good news is we can fine-tune our process to ensure the choices we make are appropriate and without regret.

Iyengar suggests adopting the following four tried-and-tested techniques to make better decisions in business and life:

1. Cut. By reducing redundancies and limiting choice, many brands – from Proctor & Gamble to Campbell’s – have witnessed costs plummet and sales increase. On the consumer side, it’s easy to be bombarded with too much information when researching a potential purchase. Some experts suggest shoppers limit themselves to reading three websites when looking up product information online. Remember, less is more.

In the Western world, we pride ourselves on our right to choose. From voting for political leaders to purchasing an automobile, we have a say in just about every decision in our lives. The average grocery store displays 45,000 items for our shopping pleasure, while a typical big box store has about 100,000. There are over 27 million books on Amazon and an increasing number of available singles on dating sites.

We thrive on having a number of options available at our fingertips, but does that variety lead us to make the best decisions? The experts say no. Though it may be appealing on the surface, it turns out too much choice can be downright crippling in the end.

Back when Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar was a graduate student, she undertook an interesting experiment about choice. With the cooperation of a high-end grocery store – the kind that has 75 different kinds of olive oil – she set out to determine whether having more options available makes a customer buy more or less of a product.

She set up two tasting booths, one with 24 flavors of jam, the other with six flavors. While the table with more options attracted more samplers, the conversion rate was lousy – only two out of every 100 people ended up purchasing jam. Compare that with the 12 people who tossed a jar into their cart after stopping at the table with just six flavors. The results said it all: those faced with fewer choices were six times more likely to make an actual purchase.

It’s not the only study to draw such conclusions. In another instance, Iyengar and a handful of peers analyzed retirement savings choices made by 500,000 employees and found the more investment funds available, the lower the employee participation. People were opting out – and missing out on free money from their employer – simply because they were overwhelmed by choice.

Iyengar has identified three main negative consequences to what she calls our “choice overload problem.” First, we’re likely to procrastinate and put off making a decision as long as possible. When we do finally make one, it’s probably not the best choice. Finally, we experience a sense of dissatisfaction with our decision, forever wondering if we could have found something better. Instead of being liberated by choice, we are suffocated by it. The whole process can be absolutely unpleasant.

Business leaders often have to make tough decisions under a great deal of pressure. The average CEO makes almost 140 decisions in a week, nearly half of which are made in nine minutes or less. The good news is we can fine-tune our process to ensure the choices we make are appropriate and without regret.

Iyengar suggests adopting the following four tried-and-tested techniques to make better decisions in business and life:

1. Cut. By reducing redundancies and limiting choice, many brands – from Proctor & Gamble to Campbell’s – have witnessed costs plummet and sales increase. On the consumer side, it’s easy to be bombarded with too much information when researching a potential purchase. Some experts suggest shoppers limit themselves to reading three websites when looking up product information online. Remember, less is more.

2. Concretization. Visualizing the outcome of a situation can be a powerful tool when making decisions. Iyengar found more people sign up for 401(k) plans when asked to consider the positive outcomes of saving more money. It’s been proven people spend less when carrying cash as opposed to using a debit card. Making something feel real can change the choices we make.

3. Categorization. If the “chooser” does a good job of categorizing the options, it makes it easier for the person making the choice. Our brains are able to process more information if properly sorted into logical categories, which is something to consider when ironing out your own decision-making process or marketing your product or service.

4. Complexity. When faced with a number of complex choices, research shows people are able to make better decisions when they progress from a simple choice to something more complicated. Conditioning yourself and your customers for complexity can increase engagement and produce big results.

Chances are the amount of options available to us won’t decline anytime soon, but by taking a disciplined, thoughtful approach to the decisions we make, we are better able to manage our choices. We may even enjoy it more, too.

The Long, Vital History Of David Beckham’s Stadium Site, The First Port Of Miami

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[Photo via State Archives of Florida: Florida Memory]

Seth H. Bramson is the Company Historian of the Florida East Coast Railway, and thus the perfect person to tell the story of the FEC’s Miami docks, Miami’s original port, and that port’s last remaining boat slip.

It appears, to many people, that the “next” desired location for David Beckham’s soccer stadium is what looks like nothing more than open water between the AmericanAirlines Arena and Museum Park. This boat slip however, is akin to sacred ground, for it is the last remaining evidence of the original Henry Flagler-built P & O Steamship Company docks and Florida East Coast Railway terminal on the east side of what is now Biscayne Boulevard, and Miami’s first port.

What is now known as the FEC Slip would have been between piers 4 and 5, those being the FEC piers. (The pier numbering, when the Port of Miami was hard by Biscayne Boulevard, began with Number 1, adjacent to the old Belcher Oil Company fuel terminal just south of NE 15th Street. The Seaboard Railroad served piers 1, 2 and 3, the FEC 4 and 5).

Read more about this fascinating story of Miami

Grand Central Terminal: How “Covering Up” Paid Off

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In 1902, William J. Wilgus, an engineer for the New York Central Railroad, came up with the concept of roofing over the yards around Grand Central and building hotels, offices and apartment houses. Among the earliest concepts were a 20-story tower over the terminal itself, and an adjacent hotel, later erected as the Biltmore, from Vanderbilt to Madison Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets. In 1910, The New York Times published a design for a ceremonial Park Avenue showing tall, income-producing office buildings, but also new structures for the National Academy of Design and the Metropolitan Opera, their cultured imprimatur blunting the nakedness of the railroad’s commercial quest.

In the next 20 years, Mr. Wilgus’s plan remade the dozen or so blocks north of the terminal. The Biltmore was the best known, 26 stories high but set back along Vanderbilt Avenue to give the terminal breathing room. With no stores on Madison Avenue, a main dining room 120 feet long and a terrace on Vanderbilt, it was a particularly debonair work. Inside, the Palm Court had a timepiece on a wooden screen; “under the clock at the Biltmore” became a legendary meeting place.

Vanderbilt filled up with structures like the high-rise Yale Club, at 44th and Vanderbilt, and the Roosevelt Hotel, from 45th to 46th. Along Lexington, buildings included the giant Commodore Hotel at 42nd and the streamlined Graybar Building at 44th.

But it was the width of Park Avenue that offered the canvas for a much grander design, something really worthy of the name Terminal City. There were a few commercial buildings, like the New York Central Building, with its signature tower, spanning Park at 46th; and the crisp, cool Postum Building at 250 Park from 46th to 47th.

Office construction here was premature, though — the newly developed apartment house was in demand, as the well-to-do began to abandon town houses and pare their servant rosters.

Just north of the Postum Building rose 270 Park Avenue, with 3,000 rooms and, according to the magazine Buildings and Building Management in 1920, 100 millionaires. Its arcaded central courtyard, with triumphal arches, struck a particularly civilized note.

Directly opposite rose 277 Park Avenue, a colossal 12-section apartment house organized around a central court and 432 apartments.

The Hotel Chatham went up on Vanderbuilt Avenue, from 48th to 49th, with a delicious terra cotta frosting along the top stories. Opposite, at 299 Park, the discreet Park Lane opened in the mid-1920s, an apartment hotel whose central dining room had tapestries and a coffered ceiling. In 1924 Arts & Decoration magazine referred to these as “the new apartment buildings which now constitute the social background of New York.”

They were, it is true, enclaves of the rich and well born, with names like Aldrich, Betts, Dodge and Rutherfurd. But there were also those whose families and fortunes were newer, like the developer Charles Paterno, the actor Rudolph Valentino and Frederick T. Ley, who started work in construction at age 15 but later was the contractor for the Chrysler Building.. The development of the residential section of Terminal City continued up to 50th Street, and was matched by construction farther north.

Terminal City began to dissolve after World War II, when commerce swept the avenue almost clean of residential buildings. The construction along Lexington has survived, except for the old Commodore at 42nd Street, refaced around 1980 for a new Hyatt. But its original gritty black smokestack still juts up from its back corner.

 

Third-Party Logistics Providers Are Shrinking in Number, Growing in Size

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Third-party logistics (3PL) providers play an essential role in hooking up shippers with the right kind of transportation service. But their numbers are shrinking.

The trend is toward fewer, larger players. A recent example was the  acquisition of One Stop Logistics by  Echo Global Logistics, Inc. Chicago-based Echo earned $884 million in revenue in 2013, drawing on a network of more than 26,000 transportation providers. One Stop, with $50.7 million in gross revenue last year, offers both truckload and less-than-truckload brokerage services out of offices in Northern California and Florida. Purchase price of the deal was $37.3 million.

Two months earlier,  Coyote Logistics LLC bought  Access America Transport. The combined company has revenues of more than $2 billion, working with some 40,000 carriers out of 17 locations in North America. That deal created the second-largest freight broker in the country, according to Jett McCandless, founder and president of logistics consultancy  Carrier Direct. And earlier this year,  XPO Logistics, Inc. snapped up  Pacer International, the third largest intermodal service provider in North America, for $335 million.

Prior to 2013, said McCandless, there was only one broker in North America with revenues of more than $1 billion —  C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH-based  Total Quality Logistics takes issue with that claim, noting that it hit the  $1 billion mark in 2011.) Today, a handful of companies has surpassed that benchmark, but the total number of providers is on the decline.

Consolidation is real,” said McCandless. “Companies that were excited to be small have acquired a more corporate environment.”

The latest wave of deals has been triggered by an influx of private equity, including venture-capital funds, McCandless said. Much of that money sat on the sidelines during the Great Recession, and is now searching for new targets as the economy sputters toward recovery. Freight brokerages and 3PLs, with their extensive rosters of contracted carriers and loyal shippers, are especially attractive prospects.

Read more on 3PL’s