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Norfolk Southern installs efficient, hybrid-powered cranes at Chicago and Atlanta intermodal terminals

Equipment furthers company’s carbon reduction strategy and operational efficiency

ATLANTA - Jan 27, 2022


Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) has completed the installation of five additional new diesel-electric hybrid overhead gantry cranes at Chicago’s Lander’s and Atlanta’s Inman intermodal terminals. The fuel-efficient cranes further the company’s sustainability efforts by increasing fuel efficiency in terminal operations and reducing air emissions.

The company first introduced five hybrid Konecranes into its operations in 2021 at its 47th Street intermodal facility in Chicago. The technology used in the cranes helps to reduce the amount of fuel used while moving freight. The hybrid cranes are operated with electrical power from a battery and a diesel generator. During normal use, power is drawn exclusively from the battery. Energy from braking is stored and then used to recharge the battery. During peak use, power is drawn from the battery and diesel generator in parallel.

“We initially sought hybrid-powered cranes for their fuel efficiency, and, in turn we experienced not only sustainability gains, but found they are far more reliable as well,” said Jeff Heller, vice president of intermodal and automotive for Norfolk Southern. “As our team conducted a technology audit to explore replacement opportunities, we found the high-tech hybrids also minimize the need for repairs and require less down time than traditional cranes. This helps minimize delays related to cranes being down, and in turn improves reliability for our customers.”

The 60-foot-tall cranes are designed to work over one or two rail tracks along with two truck lanes at rail yards that serve the Chicago and Atlanta areas. Crane operators use computer tracking to locate a container and maneuver the lifting machinery to move containers from rail to truck, and vice-versa.

“By integrating these diesel-electric hybrid cranes into our intermodal facility operations we are leveraging technology and efficiency to help us meet our sustainability goals,” said Josh Raglin, chief sustainability officer for Norfolk Southern. “Rail is already the most sustainable way to move freight over land, and equipment upgrades like this provide additional long-term emissions reductions that ultimately help us and our customers become even more efficient in our operations.”

The company’s long-term goal is to convert its remaining 58 traditional overhead gantry cranes, located at numerous facilities across its 22-state network, to hybrid power or fully electric over the next decade. Through this conversion Norfolk Southern estimates that it could achieve approximately 30 million gallons of fuel savings and reduce over 300,000 metric tons of emissions over the preceding 20 years, when all of its cranes are fully replaced.

This project contributes to the company’s overall carbon reduction solutions as outlined in Norfolk Southern’s 2021 Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) report. Recently, the CDP, the leading carbon disclosure system for the global businesses community, awarded Norfolk Southern a climate change Leadership rating for the company’s work in reducing emissions across its total carbon footprint. The company made a 7% reduction in carbon emissions intensity in 2020 alone.

More information on the company’s various sustainability initiatives can be found here.

About Norfolk Southern
Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies, moving the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Norfolk Southern connects customers to markets and communities to economic opportunity, with safe, reliable, and cost-effective shipping solutions. The company’s service area includes 22 states and the District of Columbia, every major container port in the eastern United States, and a majority of the U.S. population and manufacturing base.

Norfolk Southern Media Inquiries:
Media Relations, 404-420-4444

Investor Inquiries:
Meghan Achimasi, 470-867-4807