Intermodal shipping incorporates multiple modes of transportation to capitalize on the advantages of rail and boat while recognizing the necessity of other shipping modes. This allows cities and counties to acquire, equip, construct, and operate industrial parks that offer freight support services like warehouses and packaging and distribution facilities. This has the potential benefits of improving existing passenger and freight facilities, developing new transportation centers, and enhancing passenger and freight transportation modes by the formation of public/private partnerships.

Southeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority 

The Southeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority, in cooperation with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the Federal Highway Administration, is proposing to establish a regional intermodal facility near the interchange of U.S. 278 and the preferred alignment of the I-69 connector. The footprint for the new project will include approximately 90 acres for the intermodal facility, 140 acres of adjacent property for a multimodal industrial park, and an additional 183 acres for growth.

Russellville River Valley Regional Intermodal Authority

The River Valley Regional Intermodal Authority intends to develop intermodal transportation and industrial facility on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. Components will include a slack water harbor on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System; service by a shortline railroad with access to the Union Pacific Class I rail line; highway access through a bypass connection to Interstate 40; an intermodal rail-truck terminal; rail marshaling yard; warehousing with rail and truck docks; communications infrastructure for modern freight management systems; a foreign trade zone; and an industrial park for industries that need waterway access. Contact Roy Reaves, (479) 857-6435,

Central Arkansas Intermodal Authority

Conway and Perry Counties have formed an Intermodal Authority to develop all areas of Intermodal transportation. The Authority will be working on developing a Port on the Arkansas River that will help economic development in the two counties. The Authority is in the process of having a Study done by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to access present and future Intermodal development. The Authority is also in the process of developing a study with the US Army Corp of Engineers on the development of the Arkansas River in Conway and Perry Counties. Currently, the Authority is working with forestry, natural gas and other industries to develop their logistic strategies in the use of Intermodal Transportation. Contact Don Bradley,

Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority

The Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority (NEARIFA) was created in September 2009 through an act of the Arkansas State Legislature with the purpose of creating and promoting intermodal and multimodal assets in the region. Since its creation, NEARIFA has expanded to serve the counties, Randolph, Lawrence, and the cities, Corning, Pocahontas, and Walnut Ridge. 

Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority

A region’s economic vitality owes much to its commitment to transportation improvements. As such, WAPDD plays a crucial role in providing facilities and extensive support for the Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority (WAIA). WAIA’s role is to plan and develop initiatives for transportation improvements that benefit the entire Western Arkansas region – especially those that better support the movement of goods and freight that are so important in driving the region’s economy. As part of that effort, WAIA coordinates efforts with units of government at all levels and takes a leading role in the pursuit of public and private investments to achieve the transportation improvements that can help move Western Arkansas forward.

1109 S. 16th St. Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: 479.785.2651
Fax: 479.785.1964

Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority

The Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority was formed in February 2010. The Clark County Quorum Court adopted an ordinance to join three other counties in forming the Southwest Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority. The entity operates under Act 690 of 1997, which allows cities and counties to acquire, equip, construct, and operate industrial parks that offer freight support services like warehouses and packaging and distribution facilities. The creation of this authority has the potential benefits of improving existing passenger and freight facilities, developing new transportation centers, and enhancing passenger and freight transportation modes by the formation of public/private partnerships.

Little River Country Intermodal Authority 

South Mississippi County Intermodal Authority 

"Our IF area encompasses the cities of Osceola and Wilson and all area between, and includes all the area from I-55 east to the Miss. River.  This area will include I-55, the main line of the Burlington Northern Rail Road (BNSF), the Osceola Public River Port, the Mid-River Terminal facility, Bunge, Consolidated, and approximately 2 miles of un-developed river frontage.  We have learned that an IF will open up additional funding sources, both state and federal, as well as federal grants.  We have a diamond in the rough with the three primary modes of transportation in this designated area.  We hope that with the expansion of the Panama Canal, which will expand the container shipping business, we will be able to develop a container on barge facility, which will further service our existing industries, as well as attract other businesses.  With the two communities working together we know that we can get more accomplished in the economic and transportation areas.  With a IF, we want to hire a director who will put all his efforts toward the IF goals." 

Dickie Kennemore, Mayor & SMCIA Chairman

News & Reports

Intermodal authority pursuing a partnership with port, shipping firms

FORT SMITH -- The Western Arkansas Intermodal Authority is scheduled to meet today on whether to enter into a marketing partnership with two Louisiana port and shipping companies.

The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Western Arkansas Planning and Development District office in Fort Smith. Authority members will consider signing a memorandum of understanding with Plaquemines Port Harbor and Terminal District and American Patriot Container Transport LLC. The term of the partnership is five years.

Mat Pitsch, executive director of the authority and a Republican state senator from Fort Smith, said Friday he was excited the Louisiana group was interested in working with the intermodal authority.

Plaquemines Port is located south of New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi River and provides water access to 33 states, its website said.

Plaquemines Port Executive Director Maynard "Sandy" Sanders said in a speech in November that with partner ports upriver and Plaquemines at the mouth, Plaquemines Port will "own the Mississippi River."

American Patriot Container Transit is a subsidiary of Miami-based American Patriot Holdings. Through its affiliated companies, American Patriot Holdings is committed to being the premier petroleum, petrochemical, container and dry bulk marine transporter in the country, according to its website.

The two companies would not be involved in developing an intermodal port and terminal on the Arkansas River in Crawford County. That development is one of the authority's goals, Pitsch said. But the companies could assist in helping the authority locate a port developer and operator and identify possible port tenants.

The authority, composed of Fort Smith and Van Buren mayors, county judges in Crawford and Sebastian counties, and several businesses and community members, has expressed interest in developing a slack-water harbor on the levee in Crawford County, as well as a railroad terminal and industrial park.

"The parties hereto believe it is in their mutual interest to establish an alliance of cooperation aimed at generating new business by promoting international and inland trade routes," a portion of the memorandum said.

The memorandum said the new business would foster economic growth by increasing revenue for the three partners and help the partners grow as well.

The memorandum listed objectives as joint marketing activities, data interchange, market studies, modernization and improvements, training and technological interchange.

Pitsch and the authority have worked with the Plaquemines Port and American Patriot for months after having been introduced by the port developer and authority consultant John Vickerman. The authority brought in Vickerman in 2017 to conduct a market assessment, devise a terminal development plan and send out requests for expressions of interest in the port project.

Pitsch said that earlier this month executives with Plaquemines Port and American Patriot traveled to Fort Smith to meet with leaders of four large Northwest Arkansas corporations.

Through Vickerman's work, the intermodal authority and Ports America, one of the largest port developers in the country, signed a memorandum of understanding in March. Under the memorandum, Ports America would conduct a study on the feasibility of developing a port in Crawford County on the Arkansas River.

At the same time, the authority also received a letter from Union Pacific Railroad expressing interest in the authority's plans for the industrial park and river port.

Citing new management, Ports America pulled out of the feasibility study ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline, Pitsch said. He said Union Pacific continues to show interest in the port project.

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