For greater than twenty years, the Port of Lengthy Seashore has envisioned reworking its Pier B rail yard into a contemporary, high-tech on-dock rail help facility.
Now that the mission has cleared the federal environmental evaluate course of, the centerpiece of the Port’s rail infrastructure enchancment program can transfer swiftly from imaginative and prescient to actuality.
“This milestone unlocks our entry to federal funding and permits our Board of Harbor Commissioners to deal with the remaining native choices wanted to interrupt floor on this essential hyperlink for expediting cargo by rail between the Port and main markets nationwide,” stated Port Govt Director Mario Cordero. “The Pier B On-Dock Rail Assist Facility advances all our objectives for accelerating the circulation of cargo: growing on-dock rail effectivity, decreasing transport prices and shrinking the provision chain’s carbon footprint.”
“Years of planning, research, group outreach and collaboration with quite a few stakeholders have gotten us to this juncture,” stated Harbor Fee President Steven Neal. “The Fee is wanting ahead to contemplating the detailed designs, right-of-way choices and building suggestions for a consequential mission that can strengthen our nation’s freight community and Lengthy Seashore’s standing as a world-class, aggressive port.”
FEDS GREENLIGHT PIER B
On April 7, the U.S. Division of Transportation’s Maritime Administration issued its Report of Resolution certifying the federal Environmental Impression Assertion and approving the mission. The discovering triggers the discharge of $52.3 million in grant funding MARAD awarded the mission in December topic to EIS approval. The federal grant is critical seed cash for the primary section of the $1.547 billion program to reconfigure, broaden and improve the Port’s current Pier B rail yard. Moreover, the Port has obtained grants of $26.3 million from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the California Division of Transportation, bringing the full quantity the Port has secured thus far from its authorities companions to almost $79 million.
The multijurisdictional buy-in displays the significance of the Pier B On-Dock Rail Assist Facility to the nation’s provide chain. The mission facilities on a full-service staging facility for permitting trains as much as 20,000 ft lengthy — nearly 4 miles — to be assembled or damaged down safely and effectively. It additionally contains devoted area for servicing locomotives and rail vehicles and streamlining feeder tracks to the Alameda Hall, the superhighway for freight trains shifting via metropolitan Los Angeles and connecting the San Pedro Bay ports with remainder of the nation.
“The brand new rail facility will improve velocity of on-dock rail operations all through our Port, in addition to your entire advanced,” stated Deputy Chief Harbor Engineer Mark Erickson. “Every time we get rid of a single bottleneck, the entire community advantages. The Pier B On-Dock Assist Rail Facility will treatment a number of inefficiencies on a grand scale.”
Plans name for the mission to be in-built 12 segments, beginning with the design, contracting and building of the primary 5 levels from 2023 to 2026. They’re the locomotive facility; westward growth of the prevailing website and realignment of Pier B Avenue; eastward growth of the location; relocation of a Los Angeles County flood management pump station; and widening the Dominguez Channel Bridge to accommodate a 3rd observe. Your entire facility is predicted to be accomplished by 2032. All through, the work will contain reconfiguring metropolis streets for higher site visitors circulation and repositioning utilities.
All advised, the brand new facility will greater than double the dimensions of the prevailing yard, rising it from 82 acres to 171 acres. It should add greater than 130,000 ft of rail, quadrupling the variety of tracks from 12 to 48 units: two foremost strains, 5 arrival/departure tracks, and 41 tracks all through the yard for staging, storing and repairs.
THE BIG PICTURE
A contemporary, expanded Pier B rail facility positions the Port to realize its longstanding aim of shifting no less than 35% of cargo by on-dock rail. The aim is each operational and environmental. By streamlining on-dock rail service, the brand new facility will cut back roadway congestion and the carbon footprint of the Port and the prolonged provide chain. “It’s a trifecta,” stated Erickson. “One lengthy double-stacked practice whisking cargo from the docks to the nation’s heartland eliminates about 2,000 truck journeys, which in flip improves site visitors and reduces emissions.” At present, about 22% of all cargo shifting out and in of the Port is dealt with by on-dock rail.
The financial advantages are substantial. Throughout building, the mission will create an estimated 1,135 jobs. When accomplished, the brand new facility will decrease the price of doing enterprise for shippers, which is able to appeal to extra cargo to Lengthy Seashore and generate further everlasting jobs.
The Pier B mission has been pushed by larger trade demand for on-dock rail service and common forecasts projecting will increase in containerized cargo volumes. Planning began lengthy earlier than the pandemic-induced surge that has since precipitated container throughput on the Lengthy Seashore port to succeed in 9.4 million twenty-foot equal items in 2021, a rise of greater than 15% from the earlier yr and a historic excessive. “The cargo onslaught amplified current inefficiencies,” stated Erickson. “Though nobody might have predicted these occasions, it’s clear our long-range planning is about to repay.”
Like all main Port redevelopment tasks, the Pier B On-Dock Rail Assist Facility will increase the Port’s Group Grants Program. The grants fund native well being public well being and environmental tasks to mitigate port-related impacts on air and water high quality, site visitors and noise. Since 2009, the Port has dedicated greater than $65 million to this system, together with $1.55 million from the Pier B mission, and awarded greater than $30 million in grants.
PROGRESS AND NEXT STEPS
Along with securing preliminary funding for the Pier B On-Dock Rail Assist Facility, the Port has achieved intensive preparation in anticipation of building. To this point, the Port has finalized the state-required environmental affect report, which the Board of Harbor Commissioners licensed in 2018; developed preliminary design packages for the primary 5 phases; collaborated with utilities and companies on plans to relocate electrical, water and gasoline strains; and held quarterly public outreach conferences since fall 2020 to maintain the group knowledgeable concerning the mission, reply questions and get suggestions. Ongoing communication efforts embrace outreach to Wilmington residents and companies and Los Angeles metropolis officers concerning the portion of the prevailing rail yard already positioned inside L.A. metropolis limits and plans to broaden it.
The rapid subsequent steps embrace securing two coastal improvement permits, one from Los Angeles and one other from the California Coastal Fee, for which the Port’s purposes are pending. The Port can now additionally transfer ahead with buying a number of privately owned properties to assemble the acreage for increasing the rail facility. All are both industrial or business, and the method contains relocation help.
Within the coming weeks, the Board of Harbor Commissioners will probably be requested to think about the mission’s finances. In February, they have been suggested the $1.547 billion price ticket represents an 80% improve from the 2018 estimate. The identical forces driving up prices in each sector, specifically inflation and worth escalation, are in play. “Concrete drainage pipes alone have gone up 45%, and that’s only one instance of the upper price of building supplies,” stated Erickson. So is the area’s actual property market, which has heated up lately, he added. “In Southern California, costs have doubled and proceed to climb.”
Additionally, parts of the mission have been upgraded. Enhancements embrace changing current tracks that initially would have remained. “They are going to be greater than 30 years previous when the brand new tracks are laid,” Erickson stated. “Full alternative will guarantee a high-capacity, high-efficiency facility that gained’t require main upkeep inside the first few years.”
Contingencies and gentle prices are calculated based mostly on a share of the full, so what the Port should put aside for these bills has additionally elevated. To make sure the brand new estimate is dependable, the Port introduced in a 3rd social gathering to evaluate the numbers.
One silver lining of the pandemic is it introduced the significance of a robust provide chain to the fore. How items transfer and the necessity to enhance America’s freight community now has widespread consideration from the halls of Congress to the parents at dwelling. This deeper understanding led to the passage of the 2021 infrastructure regulation, which is able to fund greater than $1 trillion in port, airport, roadway and rail enhancements all through the U.S. Likewise, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed $4.9 billion to enhance the state’s transportation infrastructure. “Funding is beginning to meet up with want,” Cordero stated. “Pier B is a transformative mission for your entire nation.”
Supply: Port of Lengthy Seashore