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  September 20th, 2015 | Written by

Long Beach Dedicates New Green Port Gateway Rail Extension

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A bevy of port, local, state and federal officials were on hand this week to celebrate the completion of a $93 million rail project at the Port of Long Beach that they say is “a strategic element in the vital for improving the efficiency and sustainability of cargo movement as shipment volumes increase at the port.”

The Green Port Gateway project was green-lighted for construction at the end of 2012 and completed earlier this year, realigning “a critical rail pathway to relieve a bottleneck, allowing port terminals to increase their use of on-dock rail, decreasing truck traffic and air pollution,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup.

The new gateway, he said, “will enable us to reach our goal of moving 35 percent of containerized cargo via on-dock rail this decade and support our long-range ambition to eventually move 50 percent of our goods directly from terminals by train.”

According to Slangerup, every on-dock rail train—some reaching as much as 12,000 feet, or 2.2 miles, in length—eliminates as many as 750 truck trips a day from regional roadways with projections that 2.3 million truck trips will be cut over the next 20 years.

The project involved installing almost six miles of new track, as well as ancillary infrastructural work including new retaining walls, utility line modifications and roadway improvements.

The upgrade improves the on-dock rail connections serving four of the port’s largest container facilities – the Long Beach Container Terminal, the International Transportation Services terminal, the Pacific Container Terminal, and the port’s new Middle Harbor terminal.

Rail service to and from the port is provided by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, with the Pacific Harbor Line supplying the port with internal rail transportation, maintenance and dispatching services.

The Port of Long Beach, Slangerup added, “plans $1 billion in rail projects over the next decade as part of a broader modernization program to strengthen the port’s competitiveness and reduce port-related impacts to the environment.”

A majority of the funding for the project was provided by the port with $23.1 million from the California State Transportation Agency, and a $17 million transportation infrastructure grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.