Port of Long Beach gets funding for on-dock rail to lighten load from drayage fleet

A Pacific Harbor Line train ( Photo: PHL )

Funding aims to keep Port’s market share as more freight moves to intermodal and off the roads.

The Port of Long Beach is getting $14 million in government grants for a new on-dock rail project that aims to reduce drayage truck movements at the second largest U.S. port.

The Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, a California-administered state and federal program, will provide the funds, with the Port contributing another $11 million.

The funds will go to the ‘Pier G and J Double Track Access Project,” which aims to add a 9,000-foot departure track serving four of Long Beach’s six container terminals.

The Port of Long Beach says the project will increase utilization of the on-dock rail yards by adding double track capacity to simultaneously handle outbound and inbound trains.

When completed, the project will expand on-dock rail usage by approximately 157,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container cargo annually, while reducing the need for 615 daily truck trips.

Port of Long Beach spokesperson Lee Peterson says the new project aims to improve intermodal freight velocity through Long Beach. He says the Port aims to have 35% of container freight moved through on-dock rail, up from the 25% share currently handled.

“As we look forward to additional cargo moving through this gateway, we need projects like this to enhance our on-dock rail capacity and handle that additional freight,” Peterson said.

The project will serve the largest terminals at the Port of Long Beach.

Pier G is the site of the K-Line’s (TYO: 9107) International Transportation Services (ITS)terminal, which serves container ships up to 14,000 teu capacity.

Pier J houses SSA Marine’s Pacific Container Terminal (PCT), which handles ships up to 18,000 teu.

The project will also improve freight movements through the Long Beach Container Terminal, which is being put up for sale by its owner Cosco Shipping Holdings and can handle up to 22,000 teu ships.

 ( Source: Harbor Trucking Association )
( Source: Harbor Trucking Association )

The project should mean more volume for Pacific Harbor Line, the short-line railroad serving the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. A representative of Pacific Harbor Line’s owner Anacostia Rail Holdings was unavailable to comment by presstime.

The project is scheduled to start construction by the end of 2019 and be completed by mid-2021.

All in, the Port says it’s spending $1 billion to improve its rail infrastructure.

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Michael Angell, Bulk and Intermodal Editor

Michael Angell covers maritime, intermodal and related topics for FreightWaves. His interest in transportation stretches back several generations. One great-grandfather was a dray horseman along the New York waterfront and another was a railway engineer in Texas. More recently, Michael has written about the shipping industry for TradeWinds, energy markets for Oil Price Information Service, and general business topics for FactSet Mergerstat and Investor's Business Daily. When he is not stuck in the office, he enjoys tours of ports, terminals, and railyards.