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Transportation July 13, 2017

New online tool lets Iowa companies find empty containers and save on shipping

Iowa companies looking to lower shipping costs are invited to explore a new online tool called Container Locator.

The website, at, is a pilot project aimed at taking advantage of the thousands of intermodal freight containers coming into Iowa full and leaving empty. With Container Locator, companies can track down these containers, contact the shippers, and negotiate lower shipping rates using containers that would otherwise leave empty. Iowa companies can lower their shipping costs, shippers can increase revenue by filling containers that would otherwise be transported empty, and the end consumer stands to benefit from the overall lower cost of delivering goods.

"International trade in critically important to Iowa's economy and our state's future," said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. "This innovative project will help companies across Iowa export more efficiently, which will help their businesses grow."

A patent is pending for the website. The site will be free to use during its testing phase.

The concept for the Container Locator was hatched in the spring of 2014 through the Freight Roundtable, a forum organized by the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to discuss issues related to freight transportation among key stakeholders, including the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the International Traders of Iowa.

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Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

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