Study Finds Port of Pasco's
by Kristi Pihl
The Port of Pasco doesn't need to make any major improvements to its facilities at Big Pasco Industrial Center to capture more of the reload and transload business in the Tri-Cities.
A study the port commissioned from a Portland company found the need for transferring cargo between different modes of transportation already was being met by current companies.
Transload is when an intermodal metal container is transferred from one means of transportation to another, such as rail to truck. Reload is when cargo is repackaged to get it into another form of transportation.
But Ann-Marie Lundberg of Tangent Services Inc. told commissioners Thursday that as the economy recovers, the Port of Pasco may be in a position then to be the site of an additional or consolidated facility providing the transfer services.
Inland Empire Distribution Systems and Mid-Columbia Warehouse already provide reload and transload at Big Pasco, said Randy Hayden, port director of planning and engineering.
With another seven companies providing similar services in the region, there isn't an immediate need for more, Lundberg said.
The study also did not reveal an immediate need to hire a third-party switcher, a company that transports the rail cars between a private industry and a central location where a large rail company, such as BNSF Railway Co., would take charge of it, Lundberg said.
At the moment, the port owns the property that BNSF Railway Co. uses to switch cars, so the port could change to another private company if desired, she said.
That could mean more customized service and lower costs for companies, Lundberg said.
But the current volumes don't support a need for a different provider, she said.
The port should take advantage of BNSF Railway Co.'s new focus on ports to make the company more aware of the properties the port has available. Lundberg said that can help when the railway is contacted by customers on possible sites where the customers would have access to the railway.
The port is well connected to rail and highways, which can help in attracting companies that use rail for shipping products, said Craig Levie of Tangent Services.
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