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Rail News: Intermodal

BNSF, Washington state port hammer out tentative land/infrastructure pact

The Port of Vancouver, Wash., and BNSF Railway Co. recently reached a preliminary agreement aimed at advancing the port’s $137 million West Vancouver Freight Access (WVFA) project.

BNSF tentatively agreed to sell about 17 acres of right of way and donate $6 million worth of rail infrastructure to the port, pending the port commission’s approval of the deal. The port committed to complete the WVFA project by 2017’s end.

The project calls for expanding the port’s dedicated rail facilities from 18 miles of track to more than 43 miles. The port began the project in late 2007 and the eastern-most portions are nearly complete.

Seventy percent of the port’s cargo is moved by rail, a figure that’s expected to grow to more than 80 percent after the WVFA project’s completed. BNSF handles all rail services inside the port’s property and moves about 20 percent of the port’s traffic.

Under the pact, the port would grant BNSF exclusive rail operator status to directly serve to all port customers, regardless of carrier, and Union Pacific Railroad would gain access to more port traffic.

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More News from 12/23/2008