BNSF Railway says it plans to invest more than US$1.5 billion to construct a new rail facility in Southern California.
The Barstow International Gateway will be an approximately 4,500-acre integrated rail facility on the west side of Barstow, consisting of a rail yard, intermodal facility and warehouses for transloading freight from international containers to domestic containers. The facility will allow the direct transfer of containers from ships at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to trains for transport through the Alameda Corridor onto the BNSF mainline up to Barstow.
Once the containers reach the Barstow International Gateway, they will be processed at the facility, then staged and built into trains moving east via BNSF’s network across the US. Westbound freight will similarly be processed at the facility to more efficiently bring trains to the ports and other California terminals.
Currently, most international cargo at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach arrives in 40-foot containers that are then trucked from the ports to warehouses in Los Angeles or the Inland Empire. Once the containers arrive at the warehouses, they are unloaded, sorted, and re-loaded onto 53-foot domestic containers that are either transported by truck to a railyard in Los Angeles, where they are transferred onto trains, or are simply trucked across the country. This process creates inefficiencies and unnecessary truck trips within the Los Angeles Basin and Inland Empire that can impact supply chain distribution, the environment, and communities surrounding ports and warehouses.
“By allowing for more efficient transfer of cargo directly between ships and rail, the Barstow International Gateway will maximize rail and distribution efficiency regionally and across the U.S. supply chain and reduce truck traffic and freeway congestion in the Los Angeles Basin and the Inland Empire,” said Katie Farmer, president and CEO of BNSF.
“This will play a critical role in improving fluidity throughout our rail network, moving containers off the ports quicker, and facilitating improved efficiency at our existing intermodal hubs, including those in the Midwest and Texas. The facility will also have an important positive economic impact, including the creation of new, local railroad jobs.”
Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said the facility will improve cargo velocity through the port and reduce truck traffic on LA highways.
“The Port of Long Beach welcomes BNSF’s planned Barstow International Gateway in the High Desert. This project will help improve supply chain fluidity, reduce environmental impacts and enhance the competitiveness of California and the nation’s largest port complex,” said Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach executive director.