Norfolk Southern launches new portal for companies to widen shipping options

rail road
Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern is rolling out a new map portal, helping companies scout potential industrial sites. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern is introducing a new mapping portal to help companies get a clearer picture of the best places to build or relocate to be closer to rail facilities. Moving goods by rail is seen as one long-term option to unclog supply chains and reduce highway congestion.

Ryan Hegarty, the group manager of technical services at Norfolk Southern, likens using the new interactive tool, known as NSites, to a potential homebuyer picking the perfect house using a search filter.

“What we want from NSites is to fill that same gap for rail-served companies expanding into new markets,” said Hegarty.

The new maps feature more than 800 sites across the 22 states that Norfolk Southern serves, including more than 100 sites in Georgia. It can also sort by acreage, building size and other features.

Hegarty says it’s information they’ve been compiling for years – but was previously only accessible to companies who asked for it.

“Not knowing who to contact at Norfolk Southern or not wanting to divulge information about a confidential project can be a barrier,” said Hegarty.

But with this new tool, that information is now accessible to anyone.

And while Norfolk Southern may eventually benefit from increased rail freight business thanks to the portal, Hegarty says only about 10% of the industrial sites listed on NSites are actually owned by the company.

“Frankly we hope this helps our community partners to cast a wider net to attract the sorts of large manufacturers and distributors that can really open up the valves of economic opportunities for a region,” said Hegarty.