Port of Oakland, Shafter Partner to Handle Cargo
New Central Valley intermodal logistics center aims to maximize container use
SHAFTER - 11/04/04 - The Central Valley city of Shafter and logistics services provider Northwest Container Services Inc. (NWCS) have forged a partnership with the Port of Oakland to create a dedicated rail logistics service to handle cargo moving between the port's container terminals and points throughout Central and Southern California.
The new service will be centered at Shafter'../eWebPhotos/containerbox1a.jpg" align=left vspace=15 border=0>Logistics Center (CILC) that will feature a state-of-the-art intermodal rail facility facilitating the re-use of inbound, or import, containers loaded with consumer goods as outbound containers for export of agricultural goods grown in the state's fertile Central Valley region.
"Typically fifty percent of the time an international marine container is on the highway, it's empty," said NWCS Chief Executive Officer Gary Cardwell. "We want to work with cities, ports, and states that understand a new transportation model needs to be developed by locating importers where the exporters are."
The city's proximity to both Central Valley's exporters and statewide and regional import destinations "creates the load-load transportation model we have strongly been advocating for today's land use planners," he said. "The CILC will give both importers and many local exporters in Central and Southern California options not previously available. The cornerstone of this type of operation is to increase efficiency and get more container loads on to railways."
Shafter is located in Kern County, near Bakersfield about 175 miles southeast of Oakland and 114 miles north of Los Angeles.
The city - which recently became home to the Target Distribution Center, the largest tilt-up structure in the US - is immediately adjacent to a number of "under-utilized" highways such as Interstate 5 and Highway 99 running north and south, Highways 58 and 46 to the east and west and also has access via one-day truck service to Reno, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, said a spokesman for the its economic development agency.
The highway network provides "year-round access in all directions with little or no traffic congestion" - a major issue given the serious problems with the California's overburdened transportation infrastructure.
The new operation "will give both importers and many local exporters in Central and Southern California options not previously available. This project takes trucks off the highways, improves air quality and makes California competitive in a world market. The cornerstone of this type of operation is to increase efficiency and get more container loads on to railways," said Cardwell.
NWCS will operate the CILC, coordinating transportation services including all related activities including all aspects of the facility's rail and truck operations, the switching of railcars, and the storage, handling, repair and maintenance of all equipment, marine containers, chassis, and trailers.
The company will also oversee a joint Intermodal Service Development Program with the City of Shafter and will coordinate a sales and marketing staff, while city staff will coordinate the activities of the development agency, including all aspects of land and infrastructure investment at the facility.
"This project will improve the flow of commerce, take trucks off the highways, and will help keep California competitive in the world market," said the Port of Oakland's Maritime Director Wilson Lacy.
In light of the chronic rail and terminal congestion at the Southern California ports of Los Angeles amd Long Beach, the Port of Oakland "has 50% of its capacity available due to the expansion of maritime facilities. As such, the [Port of Oakland] can serve as a relief valve for the congestion in Southern California," he added.
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