The Port of Los Angeles is moving forward with a major rail project designed to optimise on-dock rail operations and improve the flow of cargo throughout the nation's busiest harbour complex.

The Terminal Island Railyard Enhancement Project will reduce truck trips, tailpipe emissions and congestion on local streets and freeways, thereby improving roadway safety, port officials said.

The US$34m project will be funded with a $21.6m grant from the State Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (Senate Bill 1) -Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP), which funds improving freight corridors in California. The Port will fund the remaining cost of nearly $12.4m.
 
The project will expand an existing intermodal rail storage yard on Terminal Island. More than 31,000 linear feet of track will be added to expand the number of storage tracks from six to 11. The project will increase capacity and use of the Pier 400 on-dock railyard by up to 525,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent units (TEUs) annually, which represents about a 10% overall increase in capacity for the Port of Los Angeles. 
 
In addition, as a result of increasing on-dock capacity at Pier 400, the project will free up capacity at another major storage and staging yard located on Terminal Island, thus improving overall rail operations throughout the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The project is a critical link between the San Pedro Bay port complex and the Alameda Corridor, which carries about 11% of all waterborne containers entering and exiting the United States. 
 
Meanwhile, the capacity and increase in use of the Pier 400 on-dock railyard will result in the shifting the same 525,000 TEUs annually from off-dock yards located between 11 and 27 miles away to on-dock facilities at the port, thus reducing truck trips on state highways.
 
As rail demand increases, the expanded rail yard is projected to eliminate an estimated 1,250 truck trips per day by 2040. 

"Expanding this rail yard creates a ripple effect of intermodal efficiencies within the Port of Los Angeles and throughout the entire San Pedro Bay port complex," says Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka. "It is a key element of regional and state transportation plans to improve safety and traffic conditions along some of our nation's most crowded commuter and freight corridors."
 
The Los Angeles Harbor Commission formally approved the project's Final Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration in early October, which concluded the environmental review process. The Port is currently preparing the final design with the construction contract award expected by June 2020, with project completion by early 2022. More than 300 construction jobs are expected to be created during the course of the project.