The Port of Richmond broke ground on a $40-million rail project designed to increase BNSF Railroad service to the port as well as upgrade the existing rail line that serves industrial tenants along the port entrance roadway. As part of the project, the port will add a second, dedicated rail line to handle more than 145,000 imported American Honda vehicles per year and serve other automotive accounts.
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 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.
During construction, some key rail improvements will be made that include building a seven-track, 84-railcar loading and unloading facility at Richmond’s Point Potrero Marine Terminal and improving the BNSF automotive facility with a six-track rail yard to support switching operations at the port. In addition, the existing rail lead serving the port will be rehabilitated and upgraded, including rail switches and at-grade crossings.
TransDevelopment Group, a specialized developer of transportation facilities, has handled project planning, environmental permitting and design and will serve as the project’s construction manager. 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. The company has made available an artistic rendering (PDF) of the planned rail infrastructure.