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Port of Long Beach on-dock rail facility moves closer to construction

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd) has issued a final environmental impact statement for the Port of Long Beach’s Pier B on-dock rail facility, bringing the planned project one step closer to fruition.

MarAd released the 382-page statement with its approval for the $1.5 billion project, which the Port of Long Beach describes as the centerpiece of its rail improvement program, on Friday.

“Simply put, the Pier B on-dock rail support facility will move cargo faster and with fewer environmental impacts,” said Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach executive director, in a Monday release.

The project aims to improve the flow of cargo by enabling rail to move containers to and from marine terminals at the port. The facility will be located southwest of Anaheim Street and the 710 Freeway.

“The Port of Long Beach is a gateway for $200 billion in job-generating trade each year,” said  Steven Neal, Long Beach Harbor Commission president. “This project will help cargo move more efficiently, and it’s vital to maintaining our competitiveness and meeting our environmental goals.”

This approval comes on top of a $52.3 million grant that the port received from MarAd in late December for the on-dock rail facility. The port expects phase 1 construction to be completed in 2025, with full completion targeted in 2032. 

The phase 1 construction will double the capacity of the existing Pier B rail yard. 

According to the Port of Long Beach’s promotional video for the Pier B on-dock rail project, the support facility would enable the configuration of freight trains as long as 2 miles. Having the facility would also increase cargo movement in and out of the port by rail from 28% to 35%. 

As described in the environmental impact statement, the Pier B rail yard would be the only rail-serving facility within the entire San Pedro Bay ports complex that can assist the on-dock terminals with the task of assembling trains and dispatching them onto the Alameda Corridor and then to the Class I railroad main lines. 

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Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.