The Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in Los Angeles, US, has approved plans for construction of the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility with the aim of increasing cargo movement and reducing the environmental impact of the site.

The project’s preliminary designs are expected to be completed in the coming months, which will be followed by the formulation of a baseline budget for the development.

Harbor Commission president Lou Anne Bynum said: “This project is vital to our ability to stay competitive and will minimise truck trips generated by anticipated cargo growth.

“Moving more cargo by rail to and from the Port reduces air pollution and makes operations more efficient.”

"The Clean Air Action Plan calls for increased use of on-dock rail, and we have a goal of raising our on-dock volumes to at least 35% of our shipments."

The proposed initiative would see cargo-loading activities at the port be carried out using an ‘on-dock rail’, which places containers directly onto trains at marine terminals.

The Pier B facility is intended to provide adequate track space to allow the connection of sections of trains assembled at terminals.

At present, the ability to build long trains is limited due to the unavailability of yard tracks at the site.

The successful completion of the project is expected to remove the need for cargo trucks to visit the facility.

It is estimated that a single one-mile-long train would be able to carry the equivalent cargo capacity of almost 750 trucks, thereby offering significant environmental benefits.

Port of Long Beach executive director Mario Cordero said: “The Clean Air Action Plan calls for increased use of on-dock rail, and we have a goal of raising our on-dock volumes to at least 35% of our shipments.

“It’s crucial that we build this facility to hit these environmental and business goals.”

The Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility is slated to be operated by Pacific Harbor Line and is planned to be located south-west of Anaheim Street and Interstate 710.