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Barge Changes Increase Rail Shipping

by Staff
Port of Pasco Beacon, Winter 2004

When major shipping companies Hyundai Merchant Marine and "K" line announced their departure from the Port of Portland earlier this year, the waves of those changes were felt all the way up the Columbia River to the Port of Pasco and the area's agricultural exporters.

For the Port, the ability to provide its customers with multimodal options has played an important part in keeping products moving.

In 2003, the Port signed a 10-year contract with Northwest Container Services (NWCS) to manage the barge terminal services, and also offer rail services to the Puget Sound area for the Port's customers.

That's an agreement that is clearly paying off for the Port and its customers, according to Randy Hayden, Port Engineer. "Because NWCS is a logistics company, they work to find the best way for our customers to get theri product where it needs to be. That might be by barge or it might be by rail," said Hayden.

"With the changes taking place at the Port of Portland, NWCS is having to change the way it is scheduling the shipping for our customers. We have seen an eight or nine fold increase in the number of containers shipped by rail. There are currently about 100 containers per week leaving the Port of Pasco, and that number is expected to jump to 150 in January. We are one of the only ports in eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon that has access to rail for large volumes of container movement," he said.

The Port is also pursuing improvements to the rail lines within the Port, including a new tie-in to the BNSF main rail line and reconstrucing portions of existing track.

"Having transportation options benefits the entire community," said Hayden. "It is important for our agricultural products heading overseas, not only to keep the products moving, but also to help get them there as cheaply as possible to keep them competitive."

Barge Changes Increase Rail Shipping
Port of Pasco Beacon, Winter 2004

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