Friday, May 27, 2011

UP to Quadruple Size of Inland California Intermodal Rail Yard

Union Pacific CEO Jim Young has revealed plans to quadruple the size of the Class I railroad's intermodal yard in the California Central Valley city of Lathrop and shift additional truck traffic away from the Port of Oakland to the inland facility.

Young detailed the plans during a Wednesday meeting with Lathrop city officials including Mayor Willie Weatherford, City Manager Steve Pinkerton and staff members who have been working on the proposed 4 million-square-foot CenterPoint Business Park project to be located next to the UP intermodal yard.

At the UP yard, inbound containers from the Port of Oakland arrive by truck and then are loaded on double-stacked rail cars which are then built into trains. Arriving trains are deconstructed in the same way, with outbound containers being trucked back to Oakland.

At the end of the estimated three year construction schedule, the UP yard expansion would increase the number of daily truck trips to the intermodal yard from just under 960 to about 2,200 and increase the annual throughput of the intermodal yard from about 270,000 TEUs to about 730,000 TEUs. The expansion would also necessitate UP expanding the intermodal yard workforce from a current level of about 70 workers to nearly 140 at full build-out.

To help mitigate pollution created by the rise in truck trips, the yard expansion will include the replacement of the current nine manual truck gates with 10 automated gates.

The expanded intermodal yard, located about an hour's dray from the Port of Oakland, could also attract sizable logistics and warehouse investment to the Lathrop and neighboring Manteca areas.

With an eye toward the yard expansion, CenterPoint purchased more than 250 acres of land adjacent to the UP property located in Manteca and secured the rights for development. Designed for large distribution centers ranging from 250,000 to 1 million square feet, the $178 million development is planned to be marketed heavily to tenants wishing to take advantage of the UP yard. The business park project is expected to create up to 600 full-time jobs and an additional 800 jobs during CenterPoint's estimated 12 to 14 month construction schedule.