Port of Richmond Breaks Ground on $40-Million Rail Project

The Port of Richmond has broken ground to kick off a $40-million rail infrastructure development that will allow the port to handle more than 145,000 imported American Honda vehicles per year.  Earlier this year, American Honda announced that it would shift some of its imported vehicle volume to Richmond from the Port of San Diego.

The construction project will dramatically increase BNSF Railroad service to the port. The existing rail line serving industrial tenants along the port entrance roadway will be upgraded and a second, dedicated, rail line will be added exclusively to serve the Honda account and other automotive tenants. A seven-track railcar loading and unloading facility will be built at the Point Potrero Marine Terminal.

TransDevelopment Group, a specialized developer of transportation facilities, has handled project planning, environmental permitting and design and will serve as the construction manager for the $40-million project. The company is under contract with Auto Warehousing, which will handle imported Honda vehicles before they are delivered to local dealers or shipped via rail to dealerships in Southwestern states.

Winning the new Honda account will provide a new revenue and employment boost for the City and Port of Richmond. The port expects to handle 150,000 – 180,000 Honda vehicles per year once the business ramps up. Port revenue will be bolstered through the 15-year contract.

The rail infrastructure project and related operating activities are expected to add more than 100 construction jobs and another 200 long-term jobs to support additional logistics activities related to expanded facility and automotive operations.

TransDevelopment and developer Auto Warehousing are working under a Richmond First Source Agreement to provide incentives and employment targets for Richmond-area contractors, subcontractors and operations workers.

Here are some of the key rail improvements that will be made during construction:

Port and rail corridor improvements

A seven-track, 84 railcar loading and unloading facility will be built at Richmond’s Point Potrero Marine Terminal. The existing rail lead serving the port will be rehabilitated and upgraded, including rail switches and at-grade crossings.

The BNSF automotive facility about one mile from the port will be improved with a six-track rail yard to support switching operations at the port. The port’s deep-water ship berth (one of two) will be renovated to allow up to two car carrier ships to berth and unload at the same time.

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