The IHB operates as an independent road even though it is jointly owned by Conrail Shared Assets (51%) and Canadian Pacific (49%). However, Conrail's seats on IHB's board of directors are occupied on a 50-50 basis by executives of CSX and Norfolk Southern who provide governance and oversee operations. Conrail's IHB holdings trace back to Penn Central and before that, to New York Central who funded the creation of IHB out of several smaller railroads in 1907. Canadian Pacific's stake came from Soo Line, who had inherited it from Milwaukee Road.
Approximately 40% of the Harbor's revenue is derived from transfer traffic between other railroads together with switching and trackage rights fees. The remaining 60% comes from online industries, and about half of that is related to the steel industry. A large chunk of the rest is derived from grain processing plants throughout the Chicago area.