Proposal would tweak running of truck-to-rail freight center

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 02:23 AM

Caldwell County and Lenoir would gain the ability to terminate their agreement with the operator of the Lenoir Transload facility on U.S. 321-A for any reason with 60 days' notice, under measures approved Monday night by the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners.

The measures would amend an agreement for the county and city to buy the transload facility from Robinson Lumber Company and company president George Robinson for $1.5 million. The Lenoir City Council has not yet considered the proposed changes.

Under the agreement, Robinson would continue to manage the facility, where shipments are transferred between railroad cars and trucks serving local industries, but one proposed amendment would allow the county and city to give 60 days' notice to terminate the management agreement.

County Manager Stan Kiser said that one reason for adding the provision is to provide some flexibility. For instance, the county commissioners initially had favored setting a fixed price in the management agreement for Robinson to load and unload cars and then index that price to inflation in order to provide cost certainty to local industry, but it became clear that was not practical. A car of items that need to be loaded by hand will cost more to handle than a shipment that can be loaded by forklift, for example.

County Attorney David Lackey said a 60-day notice would allow the county and city to explore options for management of the facility. It would not necessarily indicate the option that would be chosen.