POLB Receives $52M Rail Grant

Port of Long Beach
Port of Long Beach
An aerial view of the Port of Long Beach’s Pier B. Photo courtesy of POLB.

The Port of Long Beach has been awarded a $52.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) to help fund development of an on-dock rail support facility, the port revealed in late December.

The facility, now under construction at the port’s Pier B, is expected to enable the seaport to move more cargo by train, thereby improving efficiency and lessening environmental impacts.

The project encompasses about 171 acres in the Harbor District. The existing Pier B rail facility serves as a storage and staging area for trains. The facility is primarily used by Pacific Harbor Line, which provides rail dispatching and switching services.

The planned project is the centerpiece of the Port of Long Beach’s nearly $1 billion rail capital improvement program. Moving cargo by on-dock rail—directly transferring containers to and from marine terminals by train—is cleaner and more efficient, as it reduces truck traffic. No cargo trucks would visit the facility; instead, smaller train segments would be brought to the location and joined together into a full-sized train.

“It will help to move cargo more efficiently through the port, getting needed products and goods to homes and businesses across America faster,” POLB Executive Director Mario Cordero explained.

The grant is being provided by MARAD’s Port Infrastructure Development Program, which is specifically designed for capital projects at U.S. seaports.

“Our federal partners have recognized the need to modernize the port and support our push toward 24/7 operations,” Harbor Commission President Steven Neal said. “These investments have benefits from coast-to-coast since cargo from the Port of Long Beach reaches every congressional district.”

To date, the port has received nearly $80 million in state and federal grant funds for the project, with the total cost to build estimated at $870 million.

Construction of the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility is expected to begin in 2023, with the initial arrival, departure and storage tracks expected to be completed in 2025, followed by additional tracks coming online in 2030.

Full project completion, according to the port, is expected
by 2032.