With annual container volumes into the United States expected to increase in the coming decade, a proposed inland port in California’s Mojave Desert is looking to serve as a relief valve for congestion for the nation’s top port complex.
The project is called the Mojave Inland Port, a proposed 3 million containers per year inland port located 90 miles from the San Pedro Bay, allowing goods to arrive by rail from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and redirected to their final destinations.
According to the project’s developer, the private holding company Pioneer Partners, the port is the only fully-permitted inland port in California.
On Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation to support the approved site plan, paving the way for Pioneer Partners to secure building permits for the next phase of the development. With support from local regulators who are pushing to transform the county into a key industrial center, the proclamation adds further momentum to the project.
Located on more than 400 acres immediately adjacent to the Mojave Air & Space Port, the site will offer access to rail, two major highways and an airport capable of handling commercial cargo planes. Containers will be offloaded from ships onto shuttle trains for direct transport through the Alameda Corridor, directly to Mojave, where they will be distributed. The project promises to also remove thousands of trucks from the 710 Corridor, significantly reducing emissions for nearby neighborhoods.
According to the project backers, Mojave Inland Port will come with substantial economic benefits, including $500 million in annual economic development for California and approximately $100 million in inncreased revenue to the Alameda Corridor, in addition to $80 million in tax revenue.
“This one-of-a-kind project will help unsnarl the congestion in the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; it will help the national economy by reducing pressure on the supply chain; it will help the local economy through job creation,” said Richard Kellogg, Chair of Pioneer Partners. “Goods will get to businesses and consumers faster and more efficiently. We can’t wait to get started.”
Currently 20 million containers are processed by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach each year, making it the nation’s leading gateway for containerized imports from Asia. But that number is projected to rise to more than 30 million by 2030.
“The Port of Long Beach has seen record container traffic in recent years, which shows no sign of slowing down,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “Being surrounded by the dense urban areas of Long Beach and South Los Angeles, there is limited real estate available. The Mojave Inland Port is the type of innovative solution that will alleviate congestion and allow dockworkers to do their jobs more efficiently, getting goods to businesses and consumers faster.”
Pioneer Partners is hoping to break ground in 2023 and is shooting for full operations by 2024.
Inland ports are in use at some international ports, including Rotterdam, London, and Singapore. In the U.S., “pop-up” container yards have proved somewhat successful at relieving congestion, including at the Port of Savannah last Fall.
“Inland ports are a critical component to the future balance of our supply chain. They can provide flexibility and efficiency, all while relieving traffic congestion at critical choke points,” said Trelynd Bradley, Deputy Director of Sustainable Freight and Supply Chain Development at the California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development. “We appreciate the work that Pioneer’s Mojave Inland Port proposal has done to help find new solutions to address our supply chain challenges. We look forward to working with them and others to ensure that people across the state and the nation have access to the goods they need.”
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