Photo courtesy Port of Long Beach

Port of Long Beach Completes Project Boosting Rail Capacity

Mike Schuler
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May 2, 2022

The Port of Long Beach has completed construction of a new rail project which it says will increase efficiency of goods movement and reduce congestion on local roadways by shifting more cargo to trains.

The Double Track Access from Pier G to Pier J Project adds a second rail line running approximately 8,000 feet long enabling four terminals in the Port’s south basin area to simultaneously handle arriving and departing trains.

The project is a key piece of the port’s rail infrastructure capital improvement program aimed at shifting more cargo to rail.

“This project is an important piece of the rail improvement program that will increase efficiency and lower emissions at our Port,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We’re continuing to invest in strengthening our supply chain, prioritizing environmental sustainability and reducing impacts on the communities surrounding the Port.”

“This project will streamline operations and reduce truck trips at a time we are experiencing an unprecedented growth in cargo,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “Our investments in on-dock rail will help the Port remain globally competitive and environmentally sustainable well into the future.”

“Alleviating truck traffic will enhance air quality and decrease the impact of Port operations on the surrounding community,” said Sharon L. Weissman, Vice President of the Long Beach Harbor Commission. “Moving goods more efficiently and sustainably remains one of our top priorities.”

Construction on the project started in February 2020. It will increase rail efficiency at Piers G and J by up to 25 percent, while also minimizing conflict with neighboring terminals’ on-dock rail operations and improve overall safety in the vicinity.

The $34.7 million project was partially funded with a $14 million grant from the state’s Trade Corridor Enhancement Program, with the port contributing the remaining funds.

The completion of the project comes as the Port of Long Beach continues to set cargo records amid the ongoing surge of imports. The Port of Long Beach set its latest monthly cargo record in March, handling 863,156 TEU for a 2.7% increase compared to March 2021. In the first quarter, the Port of Long Beach moved over 2.4 million TEUs setting a new record for the busiest quarter ever the port’s history, breaking the previous record set during the fourth quarter of 2020 by 54,649 TEUs.

Depsite progress in recent months removing long-dwelling import containers from marine terminals, the number of long-dwelling rail containers (6+ days) has jumped to over 6,000 units currently, up from under 1,000 units in November 2021 amid congestion on railways thanks to a lack of rail equipment and labor.

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