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Rail News: Intermodal

L.A. port sizes up project's environmental impacts; New Orleans port sets ship-size record


The Port of Los Angeles and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report for Yusen Terminals Inc.'s planned container terminal improvements at Berths 212-224 on the north side of Terminal Island along the Cerritos Channel.

The port will hold a public meeting on the draft report May 20 and accept public comments on the documents until June 16.

Yusen Terminals has a long-term operating lease with the port through 2016 that includes an option to extend the term to 2026, which the company expects to exercise.

The company plans to deepen two berths to ensure the terminal can accommodate larger container ships that are anticipated to call at the port through 2026; improve the terminal's container terminal berthing facilities to accommodate the unloading of larger ships; increase on-dock rail facilities to accommodate projected daily peak increases in container movements into and out of the terminal; and improve the terminal's backlands to minimize ongoing needs for pavement repairs and maintenance. The rail portion of the project calls for adding a single track to the on-dock facility.

The proposed project would be constructed in two phases, with the first slated to begin in mid-2015 and take 12 months to complete, and the second phase to start in mid-2016 and take 10 months to finish. The port is served by BNSF Railway Co., Union Pacific Railroad and Pacific Harbor Line Inc.

Meanwhile, the Port of New Orleans on Monday announced a 1,066-foot-long Mediterranean Shipping Co. (MSC) vessel recently called on the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal, tying a record for the longest container ship to berth at the port.

Although the port has hosted ships with more container capacity — the MSC vessel can hold more than 8,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) — it is the longest ship to berth in New Orleans by about 60 feet.

"The arrival of the [vessel] illustrates the confidence MSC has in the port to handle the company's largest container ships," said Gary LaGrange, the port's president and chief executive officer, in a press release.

The Napoleon Avenue terminal currently can handle 640,000 TEUs annually. However, construction is under way on a Mississippi River intermodal terminal that will increase annual capacity to more than 840,000 TEUs, port officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/7/2014