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Rail News: Intermodal

Corpus Christi port lands TIGER grant pact for rail yard; Long Beach port seeks chassis supply consultant

Port of Corpus Christi commissioners on Tuesday approved a grant agreement with the U.S. Maritime Administration that outlines the terms and conditions for using a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to help fund the first phase of a rail yard project.

In June 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $10 million TIGER IV grant to the Texas port for Phase I of the Nueces River Rail Yard. The project includes an 8,000-foot siding for unit trains and a four-ladder track interchange yard totaling 15,400 track feet that can accommodate more than 335 rail cars.

Construction contract documents for the first phase are nearly complete and the project is scheduled to be advertised for bids later this month, port officials said in a press release. The Port of Corpus Christi Authority will provide $8 million for the $18 million project, recovering about half of the allocation from a surcharge that will be assessed to railroads.

“The expansion of the port’s rail capabilities is an important logistics project critical to the port’s strategic diversification efforts," said Mike Carrell, who chairs the port commission.

Meanwhile, the Port of Long Beach, Calif., is requesting proposals from consultants interested in providing project management services for a new container chassis supply model as part of an effort to develop a more efficient system. Proposals are due April 29.

A Chassis Operations Group is trying to determine a more efficient chassis supply process for container transportation at the ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles. The group includes representatives from railroads, ocean carriers, trucking firms, terminal operators, cargo owners and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Historically, ocean carriers have owned and provided the vast majority of chassis used to transport containers in the United States. But many chassis sit idle, taking up valuable terminal space, Port of Long Beach officials said in an online news article, adding that the system is costly and carriers have begun to divest themselves from the provider role.

The request for proposals will provide valuable input from all industry stakeholders to include in the criteria for a new chassis supply model, they said. The group envisions a third-party contractor could launch an unbiased process to determine the most efficient chassis supply model for the port complex and establish a discussion agreement with the Federal Maritime Commission in consultation with the city of Long Beach's legal office.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/11/2013