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Rail News: Intermodal

Tacoma port notes largest container ship and sustainability honor; Houston port earns highest RICA ranking

Last week, the largest container ship ever to call on the Port of Tacoma, Wash., arrived at Washington United Terminals.

The 1,145-foot-long, 150-foot-wide ZIM Integrated Shipping vessel can hold 10,000 20-foot equivalent container units, about 40 percent more cargo than most container ships that serve the port. The ship now is heading to Pusan, South Korea.

"Ships continue to get larger, and we are ready for them," said John Wolfe, the Port of Tacoma's chief executive officer, in a press release. "We are fortunate to have naturally deep water, and we are investing in our terminals and road and rail infrastructure to handle more cargo and the associated super-post-Panamax ships and cranes."

Washington United Terminals is a 110-acre container facility that's served by BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad. Tacoma Rail provides switching and terminal rail services at the port.

The port also has landed on Inbound Logistics magazine's list of the top 75 "Green Supply Chain Partners" for the fourth-straight year. The port was recognized for its efforts to reduce seaport-related air emissions, retrofit lighting to save energy and find innovative solutions to managing stormwater runoff, according to a press release.

Others that made the magazine's list include BNSF; CSX Corp.; the Georgia Ports Authority; Hub Group; Norfolk Southern Corp.; the Port of Los Angeles; Port of Long Beach; Port of Seattle; South Carolina Ports Authority; and UP.

Meanwhile, the Railway Industrial Clearance Association (RICA) has recognized the Port of Houston as the nation's best port.

RICA evaluated 26 U.S. ports in the areas of overall quality, customer service, customer satisfaction and quality of facilities. Nineteen of the ports are located on the Atlantic or Gulf coasts, where the majority of the nation's heavy cargo is handled.

For the second time in the past five years, the Houston facility received the association's Outstanding Port Award for Customer Satisfaction. The Port of Houston ranked ahead of ports in Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; Albany, NY; and Corpus Christi, Texas, and finished first in customer service and customer satisfaction, Port of Houston Authority officials said in a press release.

"[The award] is a testament to the efficiencies at the port authority's facilities and the professionalism and high caliber of service demonstrated by all the stakeholders that comprise the Houston Ship Channel," said Leonard Waterworth, the authority's executive director. "I would also like to recognize the Port Terminal Railroad Association for its role in helping facilitate effective rail commerce [that] has enabled the port authority to provide a high level of customer service at its general cargo facilities."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/16/2013