US rail freight company BNSF is set to invest over $1.5bn in the construction of a rail hub in southern California’s Mojave Desert.
The Barstow International Gateway will be located on a 1,800ha site to the west of the town of the same name in San Bernardino County. It will contain a rail yard, an intermodal facility and warehouses for moving freight from international to domestic containers.
According to BNSF, the facility will allow the direct transfer of containers from ships at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the international gateway where they will be processed a using renewable-energy powered cargo-handling equipment before continuing to BNSF’s national network.
Westbound freight will similarly be processed at the facility to more efficiently bring trains to the ports.
Katie Farmer, BNSF’s chief executive, said: “By allowing for more efficient transfer of cargo directly between ships and rail, the Barstow International Gateway will maximise rail and distribution efficiency regionally and across the US supply chain and reduce truck traffic and freeway congestion in the Los Angeles Basin and the Inland Empire.
“This will play a critical role in improving fluidity throughout our rail network, moving containers off the ports quicker, and facilitating improved efficiency at our existing intermodal hubs, including those in the Midwest and Texas.”
BNSF said the facility would generate 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.