Port of Vancouver, Washington Breaks Ground
by Jeff Berman, Senior Editor
VANCOUVER, Wash. - The Port of Vancouver, Washington announced last week it has officially broken ground for its $56 million West Vancouver Freight Access Project, which, it said, will provide congestion relief on the mainlines and improved access to port facilities.
Port of Vancouver Spokesman Nelson Holmberg told Logistics Management that this project will offer congestion relief to the BNSF Railway lines near the port, as well as provide expanded capacity for service to tenants of the port. This project is expected to be completed by 2010.
The BNSF Railway East-West mainline runs through the Columbia River Gorge and all the way to Chicago (via the Lower Snake River Reservoirs notes bluefish), and the BNSF North-South mainline runs from Northwest Portland, Oregon to the United States-Canada border.
"It is a project that will expand sidings, storage track, and space for building unit trains in whole before they leave the port," said Holmberg.
Along with reducing congestion, another major driver for this project centers on projected cargo increases by rail. Approximately 70 percent of the cargo that moves through the Port of Vancouver run by rail, and it is expected to be 80 percent or more rail-dependent by 2015, noted Larry Paulson, the port's executive director, in a statement.
Holmberg said this expected growth is based on the growth of the port and its tenants, noting that the port's existing tenants are currently under-served by rail, despite the fact that the port moves 70 percent of all cargo by rail.
"There's definitely a need for more rail capacity at the port already, and as the port expands physically, the need for expanded rail service is obviously critical," said Holmberg.
"One of the attractive features of the Port of Vancouver is its proximity to what we call 'River, Road, and Rail,'" said Holmberg. "By that, we mean we can serve the shippers moving cargo to and from the port quickly and efficiently, so their vessels don't sit at anchor for longer than they need to. The expansion of the rail project will allow us to keep up with that expectation as we continue to grow."
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