JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CSX (NASDAQ: CSX) has announced it is enhancing its groundbreaking industrial site selection program to meet growing demand for new rail-served manufacturing facilities. The enhancements will further assist companies in locating properties that meet a wide range of development criteria, including sustainability factors.
The CSX Select Site program, launched in 2012 in partnership with Austin Consulting, a global leader in site development and identification, was the first railroad-sponsored certification program to offer rigorous site due diligence and capture the essential factors needed to accommodate rail access. Since the program’s inception, Select Sites have attracted dozens of manufacturers, with capital investments projected to reach $14 billion and create nearly 11,000 jobs.
“The CSX Select Site program has been a tremendous success and is increasingly in demand by companies seeking to access the advantages of rail for improving supply chain efficiency while reducing their carbon footprint and meeting sustainability goals,” said Kevin Boone, CSX executive vice president of Sales and Marketing.
To further assist companies and communities amid increasing competition for rail-served sites, the Select Site program is introducing four levels of qualification — Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The four levels will help companies identify sites that best align with their needs. All sites will be included in a searchable inventory, called Zoom Prospector, currently under development. Users will be able to access the inventory at csx.com/selectsite.
Thirteen Select Sites previously identified by Austin Consulting that remain on the market are the first sites designated as Platinum, given their size and the rigorous vetting already accomplished. In addition to meeting minimum site thresholds, Select Site Platinum candidates and designees must engage in a rigorous evaluation, while also completing standard due diligence studies. Platinum sites are 100-plus acres along CSX’s rail network that are ideal for large rail-served industrial facilities.
“The greatest impact of the Select Site program has been creating a mechanism to assist communities in identifying their best industrial sites and to preserve them for capital-intensive, rail-served manufacturers,” said Jonathan Gemmen, senior director at Austin Consulting.
Under the enhanced program, the Gold, Silver and Bronze sites will be identified using two new tools — Lasso and Site Shepherd — provided through a partnership with Global Location Strategies (GLS). CSX works with landowners and county economic development organizations to capture the relevant site data in Lasso, which is imported into GLS’ customized location analytic platform, Site Shepherd. Lasso is a proprietary data collection platform built to retrieve site-specific information from program registrants, including acreage, site characteristics, utility infrastructure and more. Site Shepherd houses an analytics model custom designed to evaluate CSX-served sites for key rail-served industry siting requirements. The platform provides data-driven analytics that empower CSX and its economic development partners to optimize the marketability of these rail-served sites and identify areas of improvement. Additionally, for the first time, CSX, supported by GLS, added considerations for environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, such as those concerning renewable energy, community impacts, and brownfield site reuse.
Based on the properties’ Site Shepherd score, CSX designates top-performing sites as Gold, Silver or Bronze. All sites will receive valuable feedback regarding potential areas of improvement and are encouraged to engage with CSX on how to continually improve their score.
“Factors ranging from sustainability to shortening supply chains by bringing manufacturing capability back to the U.S. are driving companies’ growing interest in the economic and sustainability advantages of rail,” said Christina Bottomley, CSX vice president of Real Estate and Industrial Development. “The Select Site program is another way CSX is partnering with companies to meet their business objectives.”
Didi Caldwell, GLS President, added that the demand for investment-readiness programs is being driven by communities recognizing the need to have an “inventory of ready sites, primed and on hand for prospects” to compete with other communities for projects that foster economic development through building the tax base and creating jobs.
“At Global Location Strategies, we are witnessing an unprecedented client demand for speed-to-market,” she said. “Employing site selection technology streamlines data collection and empowers CSX to self-perform the evaluation; running sites through a custom analytics model and providing a clear roadmap for future investment.”
CSX, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is a premier transportation company. It provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products. For nearly 200 years, CSX has played a critical role in the nation's economic expansion and industrial development. Its network connects every major metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation's population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river and lake ports with major population centers and farming towns alike.
About Global Location Strategies
Global Location Strategies (GLS) is one of the world’s most experienced and reputable site selection firms specializing in capital- and resource-intensive facilities. A two-time Inc. 5000 company, GLS has revolutionized the site selection industry with its three proprietary SaaS platforms; LOIS, Lasso, and Site Shepherd. In addition to tech offerings, GLS offers a full suite of traditional site selection services for companies and guidance for economic development organizations. The company specializes in pharmaceutical; advanced manufacturing; chemical/petrochemical; energy/renewables; metals/polymers/composites; paper; warehousing/distribution, food & beverage, and automotive sectors. For more information, visit www.GlobalLocationStrategies.com.
About Austin Consulting
Austin Consulting is a nationally known site-selection consulting firm with years of experience in professional site selection consulting across a wide range of geographies and industries. In addition to corporate site location, Austin provides site evaluation services on behalf of public and private economic development groups, transportation companies, and utility providers to identify and evaluate sites for future development. Austin Consulting leverages the in-house technical resources within its parent company, The Austin Company, a design-build construction firm. Austin is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kajima Corporation. For more information, visit www.theaustinconsulting.com
Matthew Korn, CFA, Investor Relations
Bryan Tucker, Corporate Communications