The Port of Los Angeles said today that it is moving forward with a freight project that is designed to optimize on-dock rail operations and improve cargo flow, thanks to a $21.6 million grant from California's Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP).
Known as the Terminal Island Railyard Enhancement Project, the system is intended to reduce truck trips, tailpipe emissions, and congestion on local streets and freeways. The construction contract award is expected by June 2020, with project completion by early 2022.
The port itself will contribute another $12.4 million toward the project's total cost of $34 million. Once complete, the project will expand an existing intermodal rail storage yard on Terminal Island, adding more than 31,000 linear feet of track to expand the number of storage tracks from six to 11. That expansion will increase capacity and use of the Pier 400 on-dock railyard by up to 525,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually, which represents about a 10 percent overall increase in capacity for the Port of Los Angeles.
The expansion comes at a time when the port is setting new records each month for the number of containers handled. The port—which calls itself the nation's busiest harbor complex—recently reported that it processed 801,264 TEUs last month, a 4.9 percent increase compared with September 2017 and the strongest September in the Port's 111-year history.
That hot pace of work was triggered by two key factors, port officials said: shippers importing inventories for the peak holiday season and manufacturers landing supplies ahead of anticipated cost spikes associated with trade tariffs.
The port has also been turning to technology for help in handling the swelling volume of containers, partnering with GE Transportation to launch an online cargo tracking pOréal that it says increases visibility, enhances real-time decision-making, and optimizes cargo movement.
By adding on-dock rail capacity, the project is projected to shift intermodal freight transport from trucks to trains, eliminating an estimated 1,250 truck trips per day by 2040. That shift could also impact the greater region, since the port is a critical link between the San Pedro Bay port complex and the Alameda Corridor, which carries about 11 percent of all waterborne containers entering and exiting the U.S., port officials said.
"Expanding this rail yard creates a ripple effect of intermodal efficiencies within the Port of Los Angeles and throughout the entire San Pedro Bay port complex," Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a release. "It is a key element of regional and state transportation plans to improve safety and traffic conditions along some of our nation's most crowded commuter and freight corridors."