Davenport Rail Spur Agreement Should Grow QCA Businesses - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Rail Spur Agreement Should Grow QCA Businesses

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Davenport city leaders are moving forward with a project they say should help grow business in our entire region. They voted Wednesday night to move ahead with an agreement with Canadian Pacific that will have the railroad providing service to a rail spur at the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center.

Aldermen say that means construction can start on a Transload Facility in the spring. It would let businesses that aren't located right next to train tracks move products and materials from train cars to trucks and vice versa. It's something that's expected to bring more business to the city and the QCA, and help grow the nine companies already here.

Businesses like PCT Engineered Systems. President Terry Thompson says business is good. "Literally we're shipping machines out just about every month." And he says it's about to get even better. "As soon as the rail spur's here, we'll be ready to put one on the rail cars." A piece of an electron beam. Along with providing engineering and automation to industrial factories in our area, PCT Engineering also makes electron beams. They're used to make food-safe packaging for a lot of products you may use in your home.

But about 70 percent of the company's customers are global. That's why the president says this location near Interstate 80 and the new transload facility was so attractive back in 2007. Once it's built, Global Purchasing Manager Tammy Weisrock says, it would completely eliminate a full leg of transit, eliminate a stop in Chicago. "Having it here would eliminate the need for the trucking. Saves us on that cost, saves us on that transit time. But most importantly, I think it saves PCT that added risk."

These machines run anywhere from 600 thousand dollars to one and half million. So the less handling during shipping, the better. "Damage claims, insurance claims, not to mention, maybe the customer's going to go without this product that they've been waiting for. It's been on our floor for several weeks while we build and assemble and test. To finally get it to them to have some kind of damage or some kind of problem could be quite catastrophic to the customer."

Thompson says the city building the new facility literally across the street has his company on track to not only minimize risk, but also maximize service and grow his business. Nearly 90 employees are working now. Another handful was hired this week, and he expects that trend to continue. "The company's gonna grow. We should be able to create jobs and continue to be good representative for not only Iowa, but Davenport and the industrial park."

City leaders were set to buy the rail spur near the industrial center, but instead were able to negotiate the service agreement with Canadian Pacific, saving Davenport $750,000. Alderman Gene Meeker says construction of the transload facility is expected to cost about 10 million dollars. Federal grants would pay for nearly seven million of that, with the rest of the funds coming from the city's capital improvement budget.

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