Butler Intermodal Terminal improves access to Global Marketplace

posted on 9/22/2020 in Projects

Butler Logistics Park

Approximately one year ago, four companies came together to solve shared challenges in shipping and receiving.  Valor Victoria, Iowa Northern Railway Company (IANR), Watco Companies, and Union Pacific (UNP) recently launched an internationally focused intermodal service, through the newly-developed Butler Intermodal Terminal at Logistics Park, in rural Shell Rock. 

According to a press release, the Intermodal Terminal service provides an alternative to larger Midwest rail hubs and provides shippers with a cost-competitive solution that reduces long-haul trucking miles.  With an underrepresentation in shipping options for imports and exports, long-haul trucking from Kansas City or Chicago was the usual option.   Customers will now benefit from a consistent international container supply in the Cedar Valley Region for export loads to the U.S. West Coast.

Export loads will likely consist of ag products and products manufactured by large industrial companies based in the region.  Union Pacific will transport eastbound intermodal shipments from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and interchange with the Iowa Northern Railway, for final delivery to the Butler Intermodal Terminal. 

The terminal is expected to mainly serve customers within a 100-140 mile radius.  Due to the sheer density of companies in the Cedar Valley Region with shipping and distribution needs and the inherent presence of the Iowa ag market, Shell Rock was selected for the terminal location.  The terminal sits on 32 acres, and will have additional access to land owned by the Iowa Northern Railroad, opening the doors to expansion possibilities in the future.

According to Lynda Patterson, Vice President of Growth Strategies at Watco Companies, the vision for the project has been cultivated over the last 20 years.   Watco stated it will begin operation of the terminal with 10—15 new employees, not including other personnel hired by other members of the partnership.  As the business grows, it is anticipated additional team members will be hired.  

“This project brings outside capital investment into Butler County with increased tax base and future employment opportunities, and will be yet one more asset that will help attract additional employers into our county and our Cedar Valley Region” said Butler-Grundy Development Alliance Executive Director Jeff Kolb. “We have had a great relationship with the partners that have come together to create Butler Intermodal Terminal for quite some time, and we are pleased to have played a role in making it happen.”

IANR has provided key assets, along with customized local rail service, enabling seamless connectivity throughout the global marketplace. This unique approach creates a viable and sustainable solution for generations into the future.   "Iowa Northern is thrilled to be part of this remarkable new service product for Iowa industries seeking strategic solutions to maintain a competitive global presence in the marketplace," said Daniel Sabin, Iowa Northern Railway President.

Watco will provide dedicated in-terminal operations and will staff and equip the facility to efficiently handle intermodal containers upon arrival and departure and provide dedicated drayage services to meet customer needs and train schedules. In addition, Watco will be responsible for coordinating transload activities for customers re-loading containers for westbound export through the West Coast.

"We are excited to be part of a solution that embodies our customer first culture. Coupled with our tremendous partners, Union Pacific, Iowa Northern Railway and Valor Victoria, we are positioned to provide a cost-effective service solution that our customers deserve," said Dan Smith, Watco CEO.

Valor Victoria will engage with customers who would like to utilize this new service. Business inquiries can be directed to Valor Victoria at iowa@valorvictoria.com.


  1. cost efficiency
  2. project

Keep up-to-date on the latest news and resources from Cedar Valley Regional Partnership!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter