Fort Worth’s BNSF will build $1.5 billion facility to ease supply chain gridlock

Photo courtesy of BNSF

Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway announced an investment of $1.5 billion to build a 4,500-acre rail facility in Southern California to move cargo through supply chain bottlenecks.

The Barstow International Gateway facility will allow direct transfer of containers from the busy ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to trains running through the Alameda Corridor onto the BNSF rail line to Barstow, about 130 miles inland from the ports.

The facility will include a rail yard, intermodal facility and warehouses. Freight containers arriving at the facility will be processed and built into eastbound trains. Westbound freight will be processed at the facility to more efficiently move trains to the ports and other California terminals.

 “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,” BNSF President and CEO Katie Farmer said in a statement.

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“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,” she stated, adding that the facility will create new railroad jobs.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, BNSF is a leading North American freight transportation company that operates approximately 32,500 route miles of track in 28 states and also has operations in three Canadian provinces.

The planned facility will have its biggest impact on California but will also benefit Fort Worth and the rest of the country, officials said.

“The significance of BNSF’s investment to improve the supply chain here in California cannot be overstated,” said Trelynd Bradley, deputy director of Sustainable Freight and Supply Chain Development at the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “Rail plays a critical role in moving goods safely and efficiently, while reducing emissions due to congestion in many of our high-traffic corridors.”

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Chris Strayer, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said increasing rail freight transit will help move goods across the country quicker.

“We’ve got to get cargo off the ships, out of the ports and moved along faster and it can’t all be done with trucks,” Strayer said. “It will help expedite exports as well as imports and that helps everyone.”