Publish and Present
The Ports of Los Angeles (POLA) and Long Beach (POLB) is the largest port complex in the western hemisphere, handling 16.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2017, of which about 25% currently move via the POLA-POLB rail system. This rail system encompasses 15 on-dock rail yards and the rail network that connects them to the transcontinental railroad system. The extents of the port rail system are from the wharf to 30 miles inland, including the Alameda Corridor, which alone carries about 11 percent of all waterborne containers entering/exiting the entire U.S.. By 2035, the San Pedro Bay Ports (POLA/POLB) is projected to handle approximately 35 million TEUs, which will strain this important freight transportation network.
To accommodate the expected growth in intermodal rail volumes for both exports and imports, a significant number of rail system improvements are needed. These improvements will encourage the transport of cargo by trains, thereby reducing truck-miles traveled and highway congestion. The planning of portwide rail system improvements is accomplished by the Rail Study described in this paper.
The Rail Study evaluates infrastructure, operations, systems and institutional influences to determine and substantiate the actions required to meet demand and provide acceptable levels of service for trains over the next 20 years. The goal of the Rail Study is to provide a program of projects and an implementation plan to ensure that the rail system performs efficiently and encourages transport of cargo by rail. The comprehensive approach of the Rail Study provides a system-wide perspective that cannot be achieved with project specific studies. The rail planning for these ports has been on-going for over 20 years and we describe how the industry has changed significantly over that time.